Andres Iniesta will leave Barcelona this summer, but it is unlikely he is going to rock up at Newcastle United – despite Rafa Benitez’s little joke.

Newcastle United have been starved of exciting signings in recent years, so it does not take much to get fans excited.

And a comment Rafa Benitez made about Andres Iniesta on Friday had supporters dreaming.

Spanish World Cup winner Iniesta announced earlier in the day that he will leave Barcelona – his boyhood club – at the end of the season after a glorious career in Catalonia.

Benitez – himself a big name in Spain – was asked at his usual news conference for his thoughts on Iniesta, the Newcastle boss waxing lyrical about one of the game’s greats.

But Iniesta is not yet retiring and the conversation soon turned to theorising about where the midfielder might end up, with one journalist jovially contributing: “Newcastle?”

Benitez replied, as reported by the Chronicle, with a cheeky smile: “Maybe, we will see if we can prepare something for him. Maybe he would like to come here.”

Most fans took it for the lighthearted comment that it was, but that did not stop them taking to Twitter to discuss a possible bid…

For all their jokes, Newcastle fans certainly would not say no to the club signing a player of Iniesta’s quality.

There are not many of those around, though, and supporters will likely have to settle for slow and steady progress in the coming years.

Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame are not doing too badly right now…

In other news, Report: Olympiacos move to keep Arsenal and Liverpool target Ousseynou Ba