Barcelona secretary Toni Freixa believes Andres Iniesta is the second best player in world football, behind his Catalan club teammate Lionel Messi, reports ESPN.
The 29-year-old midfielder is currently in talks over a new contract at Camp Nou, but is understood to have rejected an initial offer to extend his stay beyond June 2015.
Iniesta is expected to agree terms, though, with Barca boss Gerardo Martino keen to tie up the Spain international's long-term future, in the hope of retaining the services of the top two footballers on the planet.
"If it were not for Messi, [Iniesta] would be the best player in the world," said Freixa. "We value him a lot and he is essential for our project.
"We want to put him in the place he deserves, just behind Messi."
With such a high valuation of Iniesta, Barcelona must offer him a deal that falls in line with his ability and contribution to the club over the past 11 years, which has seen him win six La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies, two World Club Cups and two Copa del Rey winners medals.
"I do not know what will happen in the future, I like not to look too far ahead, but my feeling has always been to finish my career at Barca," Iniesta reflected in an interview with Catalan station TV3 last weekend. "For me that would be very nice.
"I have two years of my contract left. We hope that everything will go on a good path, that is my desire and I hope the people at the club want the same."
Messi's latest contract - which was signed in February 2013 - is worth a reported €12.5 million-a-year, and so Iniesta can expect to receive a similar salary upon the completion of current negotiations.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms