Only Andres Iniesta will decide Barcelona future - Luis Enrique
Andres Iniesta will decide whether he wants to finish his career at Barcelona or branch out and try another league before the time comes to hang up his boots, according to manager Luis Enrique.
The Barca midfielder is approaching the final year of his contract with the club and and made some comments in the week which have created doubts over his future.
Iniesta said that any talks surrounding a new deal have been put on hold until the end of the season and added that he will not stay at the Catalan club if he feels he's no longer important.
"We have to trust in Iniesta's words," Luis Enrique said in a news conference on Saturday ahead of this weekend's game against Valencia at Camp Nou.
"There are two options when you reach latter stage of career. The first is to retire at the club of your dreams, which is what we all want [with Iniesta].
"And the other is to leave and to try other leagues, like Xavi did, which I also understand. Both are respectable options and only Andres can decide."
Despite stating his desire to end his career at Barca, Iniesta generated uncertainty on Thursday when he said: "I'm not saying I won't renew contract. I want to finish my career here, but that will be decided by my performances on the pitch and my feelings. I won't stay here if I am not important for the club. That's clear."
Iniesta began the season in good form but has tailed off recently after suffering a string of injury problems. He turns 33 in May and his dip in performance levels coupled with those injuries may have something to do with his comments about needing to feel important.
However, Luis Enrique feels the Barca captain is re-finding his best form as the team head into the final stretch of the season with Barca still competing for all three trophies.
"I think we've saw Iniesta at his best at the beginning of the season, but he then had two significant injuries," Luis Enrique added.
"Since then we've been trying to take care of him and help him recover and right now I see him in the same line as the beginning of the season. I am sure he's going to give us a lot."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.