Iniesta: Xavi, Messi "golden generation" won't be repeated
Barcelona can still be successful in the former midfielder's eyes, even if he thinks his golden generation with Messi and Xavi may be the club's last.
Andrés Iniesta accepts Barcelona will be unable to reproduce his golden generation, yet he does not see why future teams cannot replicate their success.
Midfielder Iniesta was one of a host of world-class stars who came through the famed La Masia academy in quick succession, with Lionel Messi, Xavi, Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué and Sergio Busquets also making the grade.
It resulted in huge success for the Blaugrana, who won the Champions League four times in nine years while also dominating domestically.
Though they were top of La Liga when the current season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, those who have followed Iniesta et al from the academy have been unable to match their brilliance.
While acknowledging the club will never again have a cluster of graduates as talented as the group he came through with, Iniesta still believes Barcelona can continue to win titles.
Iniesta: "I'd love to go back to Barça"
"That generation will never be repeated but what follows does not have to necessarily be worse in terms of how the club fares," Iniesta said in an interview with The Guardian.
"I had seen Puyol go, I had seen Víctor [Valdés] go, and then Xavi had gone… you concentrate on your own day-to-day, you still have a great team around you, top players."
Iniesta left Barcelona, the only club he had ever played for, in 2018 after making more than 650 appearances for the club.
The 35-year-old is still playing for Vissel Kobe in the J-League but he reiterated that one day he wants to return to Camp Nou in some capacity.
"Right now, I'm trying to extend my playing career as much as possible, I want to kick a ball for as long as I can because that's what makes me happy," he added.
"I've got a contract until next year, 2021, but I'm looking at things at the end of every season and I feel good, motivated. I want to keep playing and we're delighted to be here.
"When it [his career] does end, I have always said that I would love to go back to Barça. It all depends on how? In what role? What situation? Who is at the club? That's some way off. But with everything I experienced there, all the feelings I have, I would love to go back."
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