Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:

Andres Iniesta bothered by contract extension rumors
Iniesta: Barcelona has to take advantage of our form

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Iniesta: Barcelona has to take advantage of our form
Barcelona star Andres Iniesta said he was "bothered" by the rumors and speculation that surrounded his contract extension.

The Spain international's future was the subject of much debate before he committed himself to the Catalan club until 2018 by penning a deal that reportedly doubled his money to 14 million euros per year.

Indeed, there was even talk that Real Madrid was keen to make a move for Iniesta, who says that he was upset by some of the things printed by the press.

“I am a very transparent person, sometimes too much with my feelings and with me,” Iniesta told reporters on Thursday. “The only issue was the timing of the signing. The only thing that bothered me was all the noise that this had caused. Things that came out, or that were not true, were annoying. Sometimes people read or hear things and do not know if it is true, but believe what they read. That was the negative part.

“I am grateful to the fans and am very happy that I can continue here for many years to come. I have many years left of football, I know that here I will be happy and I am grateful.”

Moving on to other topics, Iniesta acknowledged that he is looking forward to taking on Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League.

“We know almost all of their players," the midfielder said. "We know how they play. The best we can do is be at our highest level because they are a technical team and their team is joined with strength that English teams have. Although they do not have many English players, that league makes you stronger physically. The most important thing is how we arrive for the tie and that we fight against a team that is very potent."

Consequently, Iniesta is delighted that Lionel Messi is now ready to return to the Barcelona starting lineup following a month out with a hamstring injury.

“We count on him for many things," the 29-year-old said. "You cannot evaluate the effectiveness of Leo with just numbers. It is the player, what he represents and what he does for the team. For me he is No. 1 and when you have a player on the pitch with these conditions, everything is much easier. Hopefully he will feel comfortable, he will have no more problems and can contribute as he always has, as the No. 1.”

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