Barcelona confident over Iniesta deal

The midfielder was stalling on new terms, but the Catalan club believes an agreement will soon be reached for the 29-year-old to see out his career at Camp Nou.
Barcelona is confident of agreeing a contract extension with Andres Iniesta by the end of December. The midfielder has asked for a deal that will net him over 11 million euros a year and see him finish his trophy-laden career with the Catalan club.

Iniesta, 29, has been stalling on a deal for some time and was unhappy at his lack of minutes earlier in the season, but Barca is increasingly hopeful a deal will be struck before the end of the year.

Elected as UEFA's best footballer following Barcelona's last Champions League winning campaign, the midfielder's current deal expires in 2015 and the club's reluctance to meet his demands have drawn the attention of Europe's leading clubs. The exact length of his new contract has yet be finalized.

Barca's confidence in retaining an individual who has trained and played in the club's colors since he was a 12-year-old is based on a belief that Iniesta's strong preference is to continue, and ultimately, conclude his stellar career at Camp Nou. The club remains, however, some distance from matching the player's financial demands.

At present, Iniesta's after-tax salary stands at 8 million euros, a sum which placed him on the second tier of Barcelona's pay scale with Xavi until the club spent heavily to complete Neymar's long-planned transfer from Santos last summer.

Though Neymar's personal terms were structured in a fashion that his new employer could present his base salary as being lower than Iniesta and Xavi's, other payments to the Brazilian and his family inflated the effective earnings well beyond that of the two playmakers.

The deal unsettled a number of Barca stalwarts, effectively establishing a new watermark for their own salary negotiations.

Iniesta and his advisers expect the 29-year-old's new deal to net between 10 million euros and 11 million euros per year. They regard the matter as one not just of financial fairness, but as a recognition of the midfielder's status within a club where he has been a central element in six La Liga and three Champions League winning teams.

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