Iniesta’s Barcelona departure ‘not certain yet’ – Valverde
The 33-year-old midfielder has told the media he has made up his mind about whether he will stay at Barcelona or leave at the end of the season. But despite reports Iniesta is ready to end a career-long stay at Camp Nou that has yielded eight LaLiga titles, five Copas del Rey and four Champions League crowns, Valverde says that is not the case.
“Talking about a possible farewell for Andres Iniesta – it’s not certain yet,” Valverde said at a media conference ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Celta Vigo.
“Others may leave but I don’t know what will happen – and who am I to say? He is the one who has to decide and I do not want to get ahead of myself and speculate.”
Iniesta has only completed two full league games this season as Valverde carefully manages the fitness levels of the Spain international.
“It depends on each game,” Valverde said when asked about substituting Iniesta. “But he is also a player I like to have rested, he has had some muscular issues and some bumps and knocks, nothing more. But at certain times, depending on how the game is going, you need to reinforce certain areas on the field. Depending on how I see the team, sometimes this is where we need to make a change so that we can avoid the opponent taking advantage of a set-piece, for example.
“I think I changed him around 80 minutes in the last game [a 2-1 win against Valencia]. I don’t know whether I need to change him before or after, when he has done his job I take him out. I changed him the other day at 2-0 and they got one back to make it 2-1 and it got tight at the end.
“I make the changes depending on the score and how the team looks in the game. I’m thinking about whether a change will make the team better, I’m usually quite relaxed and not in a rush to make substitutions. I go based on the experience I have and I make the changes as I see fit.”