Andres Iniesta has denied he is on the brink of signing a new contract at Barcelona, heaping more pressure on under-fire Josep Bartomeu.
The club president has had a vote of no confidence put to him, with opponents trying to force an election. In a bid to fight for his job, Bartomeu has claimed in the last few days that both Lionel Messi and Iniesta are poised to commit their futures to Barcelona.
But coming back from international duty - where Iniesta was outstanding in Spain' s 3-0 win over Italy and their 8-0 win over Liechtenstein - the player was asked if it was true he had agreed in principle to sign a new deal and his reply was a very clear 'no'.
Andres Iniesta has denied he is on the brink of signing a new contract at Barcelona
The captain's declaration heaps more pressure on under-fire club president Josep Bartomeu
Sportsmail understands the player has no intention of putting pen to paper with the current board. Iniesta decision to rule out signing a new contract at Barcelona sets up the possibility that one of the club's greatest ever players leaving on a free next summer.
Messi is also in the last year of his contract and has also told friends that he has no plans to sign any time soon.
Iniesta won his 30th trophy with Barcelona at the end of last season, lifting the Copa del Rey, only Messi can match his silverware haul.
As well as being unsure of the direction the club is going under Bartomeu's presidency Iniesta has also said in the past that he does not want to sign a lucrative new deal and then not be able to produce for the team on the pitch.
Iniesta has no intention of putting pen to paper on a new contract with the current board
'What I'm not going to do is be here just for the sake of being here,' he told Cadena Ser last season.
The World Cup and double European Championship winner only started 13 La Liga games for Barcelona last season. Not since the 2004-05 campaign, when he was trying to break into the side under Frank Rijkaard, has Iniesta started so few matches.
There were mitigating circumstances in that total, injury problems and Luis Enrque's decision to protect the midfielder's legs in a bid to keep him fresh for the decisive games at the end of the season cannot be overlooked.
The style of play under Luis Enrique often played to the strengths of the forward line at the expense of the midfield. It's no coincidence that Iniesta often looks more comfortable in the Spain side – still flooded with ball-playing midfielders – than in a Barcelona team geared towards the needs of the forwards. That was certainly the case against Italy and Liechtenstein.
Messi is in the last year of his deal and has told friends that he has no imminent plans to sign
'It's not that the three up front completely dictate the way we play now,' he told Sportsmail in an interview in 2016. 'But it is certainly true that there are games when they create and score the goals almost from nothing.
'The midfielders perhaps have more ground to cover now. But the strength we have is brutal. Last year I'm sure I broke my record for kilometres covered on the pitch and yet I enjoyed my football more than ever.'
That enthusiasm for Barca's new playing style waned slightly last season. Neymar has gone and now there is a new coach so Iniesta wants to see how this campaign pans out before deciding if his love affair with the club he joined as a 12-year-old will continue beyond next summer. He has no intention of signing just to help out the under-fire president who needs some good news to prevent his overthrow.
Iniesta also hinted last season that a move to another club in Spain: 'If I'm not playing for Barcelona I would not be able to play against them.'
That would indicate he is thinking about making his next move outside of Europe, with China a possibility. Following Xavi to Qatar or David Villa to the MLS are also under consideration.
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Andres Iniesta is a freak. Some people would say on paper he isn't the most skillful player in the Spanish side, those people would definitely be wrong.
The little Barcelona midfielder has the ability to make any opponent look silly with his passing, we all know that. What we're less familiar with is his weird, brilliant skill.
Iniesta, who is just 5.5 feet
short tall, has the knack of completely bamboozling a defender with his low centre of gravity, leaving them on all fours as he breezes past.
In action for his national side against Ukraine tonight, Iniesta set about humiliating as many men in yellow as possible... step up Tamas Stepanenko.
Stepanenko who was faced with the task of trying to stop Iniesta in full flight and was completely flummoxed by a piece of filthy skill, leaving him flat out on the floor.
Andres you nasty, nasty little man. We love you though.