Barca have identified Iniesta's heir - but it would be a shock deal [Goal]

Barcelona have produced some of the best teams in the history of football since the turn of the millennium, but every side has a shelf life.

All of Pique, Javier Mascherano, Luis Suarez and Andreas Iniesta are the wrong side of 30, and although they certainly have some life left in them, like Xavi and Carles Puyol, their time at the Nou Camp will come to an end eventually.

The key to remaining a top side is knowing when to replace those players – no matter how revered – when they start to decline and Barca have always got one eye on the future.

And, shockingly, it looks as if a Real Madrid star is on their hit list.

The thing with playing for Real Madrid is, unless you’re Cristiano Ronaldo and, to a degree, Sergio Ramos, you’re not untouchable.

Stars come and go in the white half of the Spanish capital, just look at Robinho, Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria as prime examples.

One man who is on the fringes right now and looks like he could certainly play a bigger role elsewhere is attacking midfielder, Isco.

It looks as if the Spanish playmaker cannot get a start at the Bernabeu with the likes of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos ahead of him, and it is only a matter of time before the 24-year-old becomes frustrated with his role.

“Isco is a super player,” Terry Gibson said on Sky Sports’ La Liga Weekly Podcast. “I can’t imagine Isco being at Real Madrid next season because he’s too good to be wasted.

“I know he is arguably at the biggest club in the world but when push comes to shove with these players at Real Madrid they just about accept the rotation so long as they get enough playing time.”

According to, Barca are said to be looking at the Spanish international as a replacement for Iniesta when his contract expires in 2018, at which point, Iniesta will be 34-years-old.

The last player to move on a free between the clubs was Argentinian forward Javier Saviola, who did the move in reverse in 2007 after a hit-and-miss spell with Barca.

The most famous of the 18 players to be transferred between the clubs is, of course, Luis Figo who moved back in 2000 for a then world record fee of €60 million.

Will Isco follow in their footsteps? Strangely enough, stylistically at least, it would make the world of sense for him.

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