​Andres Iniesta on Lionel Messi revelation, Barcelona future and retirement

Andres Iniesta says he never intended to leave Barcelona, while he has spoken out about retiring from international football after the World Cup.

Iniesta, 33, signed a new contract at Barcelona in November.

The deal ended months of speculation over the Spaniard’s future, with reports that clubs from China were eyeing up a January deal.

Iniesta is expected to see out his career at boyhood club Barca, with whom he has won four Champions League titles.

Asked in an interview with Marca if he ever seriously considered leaving Barca, he said: “It’s not that I considered leaving Barcelona.

“I’m just in a position where I now try and enjoy each day.

“I’m aware that I’m at an age where every year I need some time for myself, to make a decision on the future.

“I am honest with myself and this club has given me everything, so I am grateful.”

He will be 34 come the World Cup in Russia next summer and speculation has continued to rumble over his international future.

Asked if he will retire from Spain duty after Russia 2018, Iniesta said: “Everything points towards yes, as this important tournament can mark the end of a long trajectory in which I’ve been part of some unbelievable moments.

“We’ll see what happens, but given my age then everything indicates this will be my last tournament.”

Iniesta was also asked about his relationship with Lionel Messi.

The pair graduated from Barcelona’s La Masia academy.

“We understand each other without any conscious thought,” he said.

“We have played together practically our entire careers.

“We know each other perfectly in terms of the movements we make or the space we are in, so I am able to know where he is on the pitch without even looking.

“Aside from our innate qualities, playing with somebody for so many years makes a relationship better.”

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