Monday, October 23, 2017

Iniesta has not discussed game-time management with Valverde

SoccerNews in La Liga 12 Oct 2017

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Andres Iniesta has not had any discussions with Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde about managing his minutes on the pitch.

The midfield maestro started just 13 LaLiga matches last season, his fewest for Barca since 2004-05, amid a number of injury concerns.

Iniesta turned 33 at the back end of the previous campaign but has been restored as a key first-team figure in the early stages of Valverde’s reign at Camp Nou.

The World Cup winner extended his Barca contract “for life” this month and believes he can continue to play an important role at the club despite his advancing years.

“I’ll always be of the opinion that the more you play, the better you will be in the sense that you reach an optimum point and feel good, confident and comfortable on the field,” he told Catalunya Radio.

“This year, I’ve had some setbacks and there have been tough times, but I continue to be positive about things.

“I talk to Valverde on a daily basis, but we haven’t discussed that kind of management [of my playing time].

“I don’t think that being 33 years old means I can’t play as many games. I’m aware that it isn’t the same as being 28, but the important thing is that I feel good.”

When he does decide to hang up his boots, Iniesta hopes to remain at Barca. However, a move into coaching or an executive role is unlikely.

“I don’t think I’ll be a coach,” he said. “What I’d like to do is stay connected with the world of football and I certainly hope it is at Barcelona.

“But I do find it difficult to visualise myself as a coach or sporting director. I’m just focused on being at my best now so that I can play tomorrow.”

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