Andres Iniesta’s rise from scapegoat to the very embodiment of everything Barcelona is believed to stand for – ignoring the fact that it didn’t stand for much before Pep Guardiola’s arrival as manager, and the Spaniard’s – at the time – controversial and random decision to promote the unknown Sergio Busquets to the first-team.
Guardiola built something that the squabbling powers that be upstairs clung onto like a fly on ?, and then marketed it like it was part of their grand plan all along.
21 years after his debut for the u14s, 30 trophies & 639 apps later, Barca give Iniesta a lifetime contract.
How to treat your legends ? pic.twitter.com/XClKezwI2d
— Ball Street (@BallStreet) October 6, 2017
The decision to give Iniesta a ‘lifetime contract’ smacks of desperate PR for a club who has lost the heir to Lionel Messi’s thrown in Neymar, whilst the Argentine himself is yet to commit to a new deal past the end of this season.
“Andres 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.”
Barcelona club statement
The club from Catalunya’s decision to cling onto a dwindling Iniesta – a player who was always going to stay, no matter what; after all, he’s 33 and knows nothing more than Barca – feels like a move by a club looking to cling onto the decade of glory that came from La Masia’s production line.
La Masia is broken, football no longer allows the patience of such a project; the sooner Barcelona accept that, the quicker they can go about rebuilding, developing and moving on from the shadow of Pep Guardiola’s once in a lifetime period of dominance with a special style of football, the better.
Iniesta’s lifetime contract – without parole – is nice a sentiment but when was the last time sentiment in football got a club or player anywhere?
It has taken Manchester United over four years to rebuild after Sir Alex Ferguson. And it will take Barcelona longer than that to reinvigorate themselves from Pep Guardiola’s tenure – but the sooner they start, the quicker they’ll get there.