Barcelona legend Jordi Alba is set to leave the club at the end of the season, agreeing a departure a year before his contract was due to end.
The 34-year-old joined Barca from Valencia in 2012 and has since gone on to make over 450 appearances for the club, winning the Champions League, six La Liga titles and lifting the Copa del Rey five times.
However, he has not been as clear a guaranteed starter in the first team this season, playing 23 times in La Liga, but just 13 of those coming from the start of matches.
A club statement read: ‘FC Barcelona would like to publicly express its gratitude to Alba for his professionalism, commitment and dedication, and his ever-positive and friendly relationship with all members of the Barça family, and wishes him every fortune in the future.
‘Barça will always be a home for you, Jordi.’
In a video posted on social media, Alba said: ‘Thanks to my parents and my brother for all they have taught me; to my friends for sharing the journey with me; and to all teammates, staff, coaches, presidents and employees I have coincided with during 18 years in total with this club.
‘Thanks also to my children for the strength they give me every day and to my wife for all she does, without them none of this is possible.
‘My biggest dream was always to play for Barcelona and my memory is full of lifetime of moments which I will remember with affection. Developing in the academy was one of most special moments of my life. After seven years, I had to leave, only to return a time later for the moment I had dreamed off, playing for the first team and coming home with a presentation at Camp Nou. It was a unique moment.
’11 seasons later, I am proud and satisfied of everything we have achieved together. It has not all been good, there have also been complicated moments, but we have always came through them united.
‘I will miss running down the wing at Camp Nou feeling the support and affection of the fans. Who would have told that nine-year-old entering Barca’s academy they would achieve so much with the club of their life? I feel very fortunate.
‘After all that, though, after thinking about it carefully, this is the right moment to step aside. So, I would like to announce this is my last season as a Barca player. It’s not been an easy decision, but I leave happy and with peace of mind because I believe that it is the best thing to do.’
Alba follows Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets in announcing his exit from the club this season after an incredible spell at the Camp Nou.
Pique has retired from football while Busquets will play on, as will Alba, but no decision over his next move has been announced yet.
Alba’s contract was due to run until 2024 but an agreement was reached for him to leave a year earlier and forego most of the salary he was due in the coming season.