Iniesta agrees on first 'lifetime' contract at Barca

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"I have never before publicly commented on situations that are so complex and involve such diverse emotions, but this situation we are experiencing is exceptional", Iniesta wrote in a Facebook post.

One thing it will not mean is that Iniesta, now 33, will hang around until he's almost 40, picking up a paycheque and making the odd appearance in meaningless Copa del Rey fixtures. Basically, it seems that Iniesta will simply remain at the club until he chooses to retire, but what control the head coach or club chiefs will have over that decision is very uncertain.

"The FC Barcelona and Andrés Iniesta have reached an agreement for the lifetime extension of the contract between the two parties".

Iniesta denied he was on the brink of signing a new contract last month.

"I'll be here until my body, my mind and all I must give says that's enough".

"I want to extend my career for as long as I can", he said.

"This is the club where I grew up and evolved and I feel privileged to be its captain".

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Iniesta's current deal was due to expire at the end of the season and there had been tentative rumours that his lengthy association with the club could come to an end.

He joined the club in September 1996 at the age of 12 and has scored 55 goals after making his first-team debut in October 2002.

News of Iniesta's renewal is likely to raise further questions about Lionel Messi's future at the club, however, with the Argentina superstar still yet to sign a new deal.

"If this should have happened earlier or in a different way, I don't know about that".

Barcelona are keen to manage their captain's minutes to prolong his impact on the first team, although the evergreen Iniesta has still started six of their seven LaLiga games this season.

Iniesta has only ever played for Barca during his professional carrer and decorated that by winning eight La Liga titles and the Champions League four times.

What exactly is a "lifetime contract"?

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