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Busquets to leave Barcelona after 18 years

Barcelona have confirmed that the club captain Sergio Busquets will leave at the end of the 2022/23 season after a 15-year stay at the Nou Camp. 

He is now expected to join Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia, fueling speculation that Lionel Messi will head the same way this summer.

Busquets, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, had been offered a new deal by Barcelona but signing it would have meant taking a 70 per cent pay cut.

The Blaugrana announced on Wednesday that the veteran midfielder is prepaing to call time on a success-laden spell at his boyhood club.

"It has been an honour, a draw and a source of pride to have been able to wear this badge but everything must come to an end," Busquets told club channels.

"It hasn't been an easy decision but the time has come. Thank you to all those people who have accompanied me on this journey, as well as [club] members and fans."

Busquet's decision to quit Barça, comes just 24 hours after Messi’s father Jorge had to deny a story his son had already signed for Al Hilal, which points to the two players reuniting in Saudi Arabia this summer.

Busquets has an offer of around €15m (£13m) a season tax-free to join the club. 

Al Hilal are also interested in taking Jordi Alba whose Barcelona contract runs out in 2024.

In total, Busquets has made 719 first team appearances for the club, the third-highest tally in history behind only Lionel Messi and Xavi. He also scooped international honours as an integral figure in the Spain squad that swept to glory at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Playing alongside Andrés Iniesta and current Barça head coach Xavi for club and country, Busquets became widely regarded as one of the finest midfielders of his generation.

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