Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta insisted that he isn’t worried about losing his place in the starting lineup despite the arrival of Philippe Coutinho.
At 33, Iniesta already has a long and illustrious career for both the Catalan side and the national team, winning seven La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, two European Championships and a World Cup among others for Barcelona and Spain.
The arrival of Coutinho for £142m this week however could suggest Barcelona are readying the heir for Iniesta’s throne, but the Spaniard claims he is just focusing on his own performances and wants what is best for the team.
Iniesta told Marca: “I’m a club player and I’ve always said that anyone we have has to be the best and he’s one of the best.
“I’m not [worried or thinking about] retirement or losing my place in the team, that’s not an issue for me and I want us to achieve our goals together.
“The coach will decide who plays but I feel good and I’m doing well. There will be no problems between teammates.”
Barcelona have been in imperious form this season as they sit top of La Liga table, unbeaten and nine points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, and remain one of the favorites for the Champions League despite a tough last-16 tie against Chelsea.
Iniesta himself has been a key part of Barcelona’s early form under Ernesto Valverde, and believes that the arrival of Coutinho can help make them even stronger in the second half of the season.
He continued: “Coutinho coming in doesn’t affect me. He is one more player, another teammate and what’s good for the club is good for everyone.
“He’s an innate talent and he has come to this club to continue developing and improving as a player. He’s one of the best in his position and his profile is the kind of player we like here.”