Transfers Move to China? Iniesta is still needed at Barca Ben Hayward 07:36 2/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Barcelona Eibar v Barcelona Eibar Primera División Opinion The midfielder signed a “lifetime” contract with the Catalan club in October and would be better off staying at Camp Nou for the foreseeable future Andres Iniesta is the longest-serving player in Barcelona’s squad. The 33-year-old arrived at La Masia at the age of 12 in 1996, and has gone on to win 30 trophies for the Catalan club. So the thought that he may leave is probably too much for many fans to bear.All players move on eventually, either calling time on their playing days like Carles Puyol, to seek a new experience elsewhere as Neymar did, or to end their careers with a lucrative move to a lesser league, such as Xavi.Iniesta, it has been reported in the Catalan press, is being tempted by such an offer from China. As well as high wages, it is said to include an agreement for advertising campaigns and also commercial promotion for his wines. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player At the age of 33, he may well be tempted. In the knowledge that life after football will be less lucrative, players place much importance on their final contract and a mega-money deal in China would mean Iniesta would never need to work again.Not that he really does anyway, of course, but even the wealthiest footballers can get a little nervous about the future when their careers are almost over. And Iniesta probably lacks the personality to be a coach or even a pundit when he hangs up his boots.The midfielder brings in around €20 million after tax as part of his current contract, the first-ever “lifetime” deal offered to a player by Barca, and he is said to have turned down almost twice that amount (€35m) to play for an unnamed Chinese club.Meanwhile, reports in Spain claim the player has invested around €5 million in his own businesses away from football, including the production of wine, cheese and olive oil, and that he has lost money in those operations.However, he still should be more than comfortable on his current wages and for the moment, he is needed at Barcelona. Firstly, because he remains one of the world’s best midfielders. And secondly, to help January signing Philippe Coutinho adapt to life at the club.Barca boss Ernesto Valverde was asked about the reports on Friday and said the club had not received any offer for Iniesta from China or anywhere else.”If that happens, we will think about it then,” he said. “I don’t have anything to say. I haven’t even thought about it. Iniesta is with us and we want him to help us a lot, as he always does.”Iniesta has played more under Valverde than he did last season under Luis Enrique, so it still seems the player has much to give at Camp Nou. And until the end of the season, he will focus on trying to help Barca win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.Should Barca win another treble, he may just decide to walk away as Xavi did in the summer of 2015. That, however, would be a shame for the club, for the fans and for the player himself – because it will be a long time before the Camp Nou, or indeed Spanish football, sees his like again.
Grief spreads Word of the fire spread grief across two continents, from the Bronx to villages in Mali, a West African country about twice the size of Texas and one of the poorest nations in the world. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said a devastated Mamadou Soumare, a livery cab driver whose wife, son and 7-month-old twins died in the blaze. “I love her. I love my wife.” Soumare was driving through Harlem when he received a frantic cell-phone call from his wife, Fatoumata, who relatives said died in the fire. “She said, `We have a fire,”‘ Soumare recalled. “She was screaming.” Soumare rushed home in his cab, only to helplessly watch as their home turned into a fiery tomb. Moussa Magassa, an official of the New York chapter of the High Council for Malians Living Abroad, was headed back to the city from a business trip to Mali after receiving the grim news that nearly half of his 11 children were dead, said council representative Bourema Niambele. “He’s the best in our community,” said Imam Mahamadou Soukouna, a Muslim cleric and family friend. “It’s very, very, very sad what has happened to us today.” Magassa arrived in New York about 15 years ago, friends said. One neighbor said Magassa and Mamadou Soumare were brothers. Fatoumata Soumare was from the village of Tasauirga and left Mali for the Bronx about six years ago, friends said. The death toll might have been higher if not for the efforts of Soto and another neighbor, David Todd. Todd, 40, who lived next door, said one child was already on the ground in the yard when he arrived with Soto outside the burning home. “Please, God, help my children!” the woman inside screamed while tossing the children out – and then jumping from the window. Shooting flames Another neighbor, Elaine Martin, said flames were shooting from the building when she arrived, and a shoeless woman in a nightgown stood crying in the street. “My kids is in there, my kids is in there,” the woman wailed to Martin. Neighbor Charles O’Neal, 21, watched as firefighters passed along babies still in their pajamas. Later, O’Neal saw two of the children dead, splayed across white plastic on the ground. There were reports of 19 injuries, including four firefighters and an emergency medical worker. A 7-year-old girl remained in critical condition, while a pair of 6-year-olds and a 24-year-old were in stable condition. Part of the problem, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was that residents apparently tried to extinguish the fire themselves. “Once they were notified, the Fire Department was on the scene in a little more than three minutes,” the mayor said. “Sadly, that was not enough time.” The home did not have a fire escape and was not required to under city building codes. There were no complaints or violations on record against the building, constructed in 1901. The dead, according to family members, included Fatoumata Soumare, 42, and three children: a son, Dgibril, and 7-month-old twins, Sisi and Harouma. A fourth child, 7-year-old Hasimy, escaped the carnage, her father said. The family members provided different name spellings than the authorities did. Authorities identified the members of the Magassa family as four brothers: Bandiougou, 11, Mahamadou, 8, Abudubucary, 5, and Bilaly, 1; and their sister, 3-year-old Diaba. Varying accounts had the families’ names spelled differently. The fire was New York City’s deadliest since the 1990 Happy Land social club blaze in the Bronx that killed 87 people.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW YORK – Screams poured from the burning building along with smoke and flames: “Help me! Help me! Please! Please!” Bystanders looked up to see a woman toss two children out the window, one at a time, to those below. The scene unfolded early Thursday during New York City’s deadliest fire in nearly two decades – a blaze that killed eight children and one adult, part of an extended family led by African immigrants who shared a row house near Yankee Stadium. The children tossed from the three-story building survived, authorities said. The woman who threw them jumped but survived. The fire was sparked by an overheated space heater near a mattress in a basement bedroom, then raced up a stairway pushed by air from broken back windows, said Fire Chief Salvatore Cassano. Most of the 22 residents – 17 of them children – were stranded on the upper floors as the blaze raged for two hours. “I can’t recollect a fire where we lost eight children,” Cassano said. Neighbor Edward Soto ran toward the fire, then stared in disbelief as an infant was tossed from the building. “All I see is just a big cloud of white dust, and out of nowhere comes the first baby,” said Soto, who caught the child while with another neighbor. Moments later, he caught a second child. At least one of the children was not breathing. Firefighters worked for two hours in freezing pre-dawn temperatures to bring the flames under control. The home had two smoke alarms, but neither had batteries. Police said there was no evidence of a crime. The dead were found throughout the house, mostly on the upper floors, with babies still in their cribs. The victims included five children from one family, along with a wife and three other children from a second family.