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China’s Chongqing Denies Iniesta Rumors

China’s Chongqing Denies Iniesta RumorsChina’s Chongqing Denies Iniesta Rumors

China’s Chongqing Lifan denied making a big-money move for Andres Iniesta as Spanish media said the Barcelona captain could now be headed for Japan or Australia.

Reports in China and Spain have linked Chongqing with the 33-year-old Spanish World Cup-winner, who is leaving Barcelona after two decades of phenomenal success, AFP reported.

Chongqing said Iniesta wouldn’t be joining “as a player” but left the door open to future cooperation with the midfielder.

“The other sports industry sections of our club’s controlling shareholder have in-depth cooperation with Mr. Iniesta in sports brokerage, sports marketing, and youth training and education,” the club added. “We don’t rule out that in the future there may be more in-depth cooperation between the two sides in the Chinese market, but this does not mean that Mr. Iniesta will join the club as a player.”

Chongqing, in southwest China, had emerged as a surprise contender to snare Iniesta, one of the finest midfielders of his generation, despite not being a traditional heavyweight in Chinese football.

The club’s only major success was the FA Cup in 2000, but Iniesta has travelled to the city of 30 million people in the past for promotional events and worked closely with the sports marketing agency Desports. Desports was founded by Chinese businessman and Chongqing chairman Jiang Lizhang, who was said to have been spearheading attempts to lure Iniesta.

Chongqing is the second Chinese club to rule out a move for Iniesta, after Tianjin Quanjian threatened legal action to quash reports linking them with the player.

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