Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted Andres Iniesta has "defined an era" as the Spanish midfielder looks set to call time on his stay at Barcelona this week. 

The 33-year-old, who lifted his 34th career trophy last weekend after helping the Catalonians secure their fourth consecutive Copa del Rey title, is ​hotly tipped to switch Camp Nou for the Chinese Super League following the conclusion of this campaign.

And ahead of the announcement, which is expected to take place on Friday at 13:30 CET, the Barca hierarchy leader claimed to radio show El Larguero, as quoted by ​SPORT, that the centre of the park maestro has been the "most important" player at the club for over a decade. 

"(He) has defined an era at Barcelona, a winning era," Bartomeu said. "He has always given his all to the club. (He) has been the most important player Barcelona have had since he became a first-team player in 2004.

"He has been the most important player for every coach since Frank Rijkaard was at the club, be it for Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, Gerardo Martino, Luis Enrique or Ernesto Valverde. All you have to do is watch his last game, in the Copa del Rey final. It was truly spectacular."

However, it is not just Iniesta's footballing ability that makes him a crucial aspect to Barcelona in Bartomeu's eyes, with the player's off-field persona matching the quality he portrays on the pitch. 

"He's such a good person, and all of us would like to have a son like Andres," he said.

But despite world football anticipating the sad news that the Spain international will indeed seek pastures new at the end of the season, the Barca president was not prepared to give anything away. 

"The player will be the one who expresses what his future is when he feels it's the right time," he added. "We need to respect his decision and his desire to announce it in his own way."