Barcelona says Iniesta’s contract extended ‘for life’

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona has extended Andres Iniesta’s contract ”for life.”

The club, however, gave few details about the midfielder’s new deal.

”Barcelona and Andres Iniesta have agreed to a deal that will keep the midfielder (with Barcelona) for the remainder of his career,” the club said Friday.

Iniesta’s current contract was valid until the end of this season.

The 33-year Iniesta has played 639 matches for the club since making his debut with the first team in October 2002. He has scored 55 goals.

Only Xavi Hernandez has had more appearances, with 767. They are followed by Lionel Messi, whose streak stands at 594.

Iniesta joined the club’s youth squad when he was 12 in 1996, and along with Messi is the player with most titles won with the senior squad, with 30.

Talks about Iniesta’s contract renewal had been going on since the beginning of the year.

Iniesta said earlier this season that he wanted to retire with Barcelona, but ”there were many factors” that had to be evaluated before considering his new deal with the club.

Spanish media had reported that Iniesta was not pleased that the team took too long to start negotiations for the new contract.