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Andres Iniesta’s China move cast in doubt by Chongqing Lifan

Andres Iniesta announced last month that this season would be his last at FC Barcelona and he was expected to join Chinese Super League (CSL) side Chongqing Lifan.

football Updated: May 08, 2018 10:02 IST
Chongqing Lifan,Andres Iniesta,Chinese Super League
FC Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, who will leave the club by the end of the season, was expected to be signed by Chinese Super League (CSL) club Chongqing Lifan.(REUTERS)

Andres Iniesta’s expected move to the Chinese Super League could be off.

A tearful Iniesta announced at a news conference last month that this season would be his last at Barcelona.

The Blaugrana captain was expected to join CSL side Chongqing Lifan, with the club’s sponsor stating they were “positive” about the chances of a deal.

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But a statement from Chongqing released via Chinese social media site Weibo on Monday indicated a deal for the 33-year-old could be off due to financial concerns.

“Recently, the media reported that the Spanish star Iniesta will join the club on a high salary,” wrote club president Jiang Lizhang.

“There are many different opinions on this matter. I made the following three statements on this matter.

“My club will never violate the development prospects of Chinese football, and is determined to make due contributions to the healthy development of Chinese football.

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“My club is firmly rooted in Chongqing, and has made every effort to increase the investment in the youth training system at all levels. It is our responsibility to provide excellent players for Chongqing football and Chinese football.

“Any violation of the policy of the Chinese Football Association and disruption of market order violates the development philosophy of our club.

“The other sports industry sections of our club’s controlling shareholder have in-depth cooperation with Mr Iniesta in sports brokerage, sports marketing, and youth education.

“Do not rule out that in the future, there could be more in-depth cooperation between the two parties in the Chinese market, but this does not mean that Mr Iniesta will join the club as a player.”

First Published: May 08, 2018 10:01 IST