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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Andres Iniesta thankful for 'show of trust' after becoming first Barcelona player to sign 'lifetime' contract

Club captain is the most-decorated player in Barca history and has made the second-highest number of apperances behind long-time midfield partner Xavi.

Andres Iniesta has said he will stay at Barcelona until his mind and body tell him to stop after the club captain signed a lifelong contract on Friday.

"This is a very special day for me because I'm staying at home. I want to continue doing important things here," Iniesta, 33, said.

"I'll be here until my body, my mind and all I must give says that's enough. I hope that won't be for a very long time. I can only thank the club and the fans for everything they do for me every day.

"This agreement is a renewal but also a show of trust. It makes me very happy that my club has given me this chance."

Along with five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Iniesta is Barca's most decorated player having won 30 trophies at club level, including eight Primera Liga titles and four Uefa Champions Leagues.

Iniesta has also made the second highest number of appearances in a Barca shirt behind Xavi Hernandez with 639 since his debut 15 years ago.

"Iniesta signed a lifetime contract with FC Barcelona on Friday, in a deal that will keep him at the club for the rest of his career," Barca said in a statement.

"This is the first time that FC Barcelona has signed a lifelong contract with a footballer," Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said.

Born in the central Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha before joining Barca at the age of 12, Iniesta is a beloved figure across Spain as he scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.

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One to shun the spotlight, Iniesta tends to do his talking on the pitch as a fundamental figure in Barca's most successful ever era.

Alongside long-time midfield partner Xavi for both club and country, Iniesta formed the axis of Pep Guardiola's side that won 14 trophies in four years between 2008 and 2012.

His previous contract was due to expire at the end of the season and doubts over his future were raised when he refuted Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu's claims a deal "in principle" was in place last month.

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