Ivan Rakitic: 'Andres Iniesta decision must be respected'

Rakitic: 'Iniesta decision must be respected'
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Ivan Rakitic is unsure whether Andres Iniesta will prolong his stay at Barcelona beyond the summer but admits that he hopes to see the Spaniard remain.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has admitted that he is desperate for Andres Iniesta to stay at the club, but says that his teammate's final decision "will be respected" either way.

The 33-year-old is due to make an announcement in the coming days regarding his future beyond the end of this season, amid strong links with a move to the Chinese Super League.

Iniesta has made 670 appearances for Barca and won 31 trophies in his 16 years in the first-team fold, and Rakitic wants the Spaniard to prolong his Camp Nou stay after playing a key part in the 5-0 Copa del Rey final win over Sevilla.

"I don't know [if he'll stay]," he told reporters. "I hope he doesn't leave. He knows it, I think fans want him with us as much as I want that, but as I always said he has to make a choice, he has to discuss it with his family. His decision will be respected by all of us."

Iniesta was given a standing ovation from both sets of supporters when substituted at the Wanda Metropolitano as Barca completed the first part of a likely domestic double.

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Andres Iniesta in action for Barcelona in December 2016
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2Atletico MadridAtletico382310558223679
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RDeportivo La CorunaDeportivo38611213876-3829
RLas PalmasLas Palmas3857262474-5022
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