After spending his entire youth and adult life playing for Barcelona, legendary midfielder Andres Iniesta recently indicated that he’s made his decision whether or not to accept a more lucrative offer from the Chinese Super League.
We predict he will formally announce his intent to leave Barca at the end of the season and sign a deal with a Chinese team (most likely Tianjin Quanjian). Here are five main reasons the Spanish international and Barcelona legend will be leaving La Liga in May.
Barcelona Can’t Come Close to Matching What His Salary in China Would Be
While Barcelona is paying their star midfielder about $10 million this season, it is believed that his Chinese deal would pay him roughly four times that amount for an estimated three-year period. And while any details beyond this amount might not be released, it is likely that any taxes that are withheld from his Chinese payments would be far less than what the Spanish government would levy as taxes upon such earnings.
Barcelona Has Been Grooming Philippe Coutinho
Knowing that at age 33 Iniesta could not be expected to play 90-minute matches throughout the season, Barcelona procured the services of Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho for a transfer fee of up to $170 million. While such a fee was considered excessive when it was announced in early January, it is becoming clear that while no player can fully replace the skills of Iniesta, Barcelona was preparing for a potential Iniesta long-term injury or departure in signing Coutinho.
Expansion of his Wine Business into a Normally-Closed Economy
While it is notoriously difficult for any company to distribute their product in China, Iniesta’s wine company, Bodega Iniesta, would see his new club granted distribution rights for his spirits. Such an agreement is expected to award Bodega Iniesta with an initial two-million bottle order with the potential of larger future purchases. That would certainly taste sweet to Iniesta.
Re-Design of the Chinese Youth Camps
It is believed that part of the deal will see Iniesta’s management team organize a series of children’s camps across China, furthering both his and China’s global presence. While most players would lack the expertise to create these camps successfully, Iniesta is a product of Barcelona’s legendary youth training academy, La Masia. Expect him and his team to leverage his youth experience at the academy to create a successful youth training camps in China.
He Will Still Retire as a Blaugrana
As a life-long Barca product who has given so much to his club, management and fans alike understand that at age 33, Iniesta will not have another financial opportunity like the one in China arise again. Once his three-year commitment is finished, expect the Spaniard to return home with his popularity intact and retire as a Blaugrana. After all, he has given his entire career to one club, garnering over 30 team trophies during his 16-years with Barcelona. His fans would expect nothing less.