Sergio Busquets will leave Barcelona in June at the end of his contract, the midfielder confirmed Wednesday, ending a highly successful era at the club.
“The moment has arrived to announce this is my last season at Barcelona,”
“It has been an unforgettable journey.”Said Busquets on Instagram.
Busquets has won the Champions League three times with Barcelona and La Liga on eight occasions before this season, with the Catalans set to triumph again for the first time in four years.
The 34-year-old has been a key player for Barca since breaking into the first team under their former coach Pep Guardiola in 2008, making over 700 appearances to date.
He did not say where he might go next, with Spanish reports suggesting he may move to a team in Saudi Arabia.
“It has been an honour, a dream, a pride. It has been everything to be able to defend and represent this badge for so many years, but everything has a beginning and an end,”
“Although it has not been an easy decision, I think the time has come.”Continued Busquets.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez, who played with Busquets in the team’s midfield for several years, wanted the midfielder to stay next season, but said the decision was up to him.
The veteran has long been thought to favour a move to Major League Soccer in the United States at the end of his Barcelona contract, with Inter Miami one of the teams mentioned.
However in recent days the player has been linked in Spanish media with a move to the Saudi Arabian top flight.
Former Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, a close friend of Busquets, is another player who may end up in the oil-rich kingdom after sources close to negotiations told AFP it was a “done deal” for the Argentine forward to move to the Middle East.
However Messi’s father and agent Jorge Messi said Tuesday that the World Cup winner’s future would only be decided at the end of the season.
Busquets won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012, a key fixture in the national team for nearly 15 years until he retired from international duty in December.