Andres Iniesta's proposed move to to Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan have suffered setback has the Chinese team disclosed that it would not pay the Spanish player salary that would affect the market.
Both Messi and Iniesta have played 14 years together at the Camp Nou and they have both won four Champions League titles in their career lifespan.
Chongqing Lifan were widely considered as the team securing his signature but the Chinese Super League side have released a statement saying that Iniesta "will not join us a player" due to financial concerns over the size of his salary. The club says it supports the healthy development of Chinese football, a nod to its willingness to respond to China's clampdown on heavy transfer spending.
Iniesta left the field to a standing ovation in his last El Clasico on Sunday night as Barca drew 2-2 with Real Madrid.
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A skyrocketing series of expensive deals was brought to a halt a year ago when the CFA introduced a 100 percent tax on foreign transfers over 45 million yuan ($7 million), with proceeds going into a fund for youth development.
Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Barcelona's jersey sponsor Rakuten, the company which operates Vissel, is said to be involved in negotiations between the two parties.
However, Sport reported that Iniesta was yet to receive any proposals from Japan, even tough reports from other Spanish media claim he was already in talks.
Nevertheless, it was a special clasico for the 33-year old Spaniard and he chose not to keep the shirt he wore during the match, instead handing it to the Real Madrid skipper and long-time Spain teammate Sergio Ramos.