Andres Iniesta signs for Vissel Kobe Japanese club after leaving Barcelona

Barcelona and Spain legend, Andres Iniesta has signed for the Japanese side Vissel Kobe after bringing down the curtain on his brilliant Barcelona career.

The 34-year-old playmaker left the Catalan giants after landing his ninth La Liga title with the club. He also secured a host of other honours, including four Champions League triumphs.

Mikitani who’s also the CEO of Barcelona’s main sponsor Rakuten, a Japanese online retailer added: ‘Iniesta is a top global player. Many of us will recall Iniesta’s astounding goal in the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that brought Spain its first title in the tournament.

Mikitani said, ‘I’m pleased to announce that Andres Iniesta will be signing up to play with Vissel Kobe after his historic career at Barcelona,

Iniesta signed his contract as Mikitani watched, and then spoke through an interpreter. Terms of the contract were not disclosed but Japanese media are reporting he will earn $30m (£22.5m) annually on a three-year deal.

 

‘Since 2015, Iniesta has also led Barcelona as captain and last year he was the first player to sign a lifetime contract with the club.

‘I am confident Iniesta’s philosophy, leadership and DNA will be a terrific inspiration, not only for Vissel Kobe but all Japanese football society.

‘We look forward to Andres Iniesta not only strengthening the team’s performance but also contributing to the development of the next generation of players through the introduction of the Iniesta methodology to the youth academy.

Iniesta held up the team’s red shirt with his famous No 8 on the back and his name written across the bottom. The Spaniard is expected to retire from international football after this summer’s World Cup.

‘We believe his decision to come to Japan will have a major impact, not just on Vissel Kobe, but on football in Japan and Asia.’

Iniesta will raise the profile of Japanese football globally and we are working on activities to leverage his presence here and promote the J League worldwide. I am very proud to see this day come.

‘We will do everything in our power to support Iniesta during his time in Japan and show us all his beautiful, inspiring play.’

Iniesta who is rated as one of the greatest midfielders of all-time had recently departed his boyhood club Barcelona, where he spent 16 seasons, winning 22 trophies.

He announced last month he would leave Barcelona after 16 seasons. His last match for the Spanish club was on Sunday against Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou.

Vissel Kobe are sixth in the J-League after 15 games. They signed Lukas Podolski last year but the German striker is out until the end of June with an injured calf.

He announced last month he would leave Barcelona after 16 seasons. His last match for the Spanish club was on Sunday against Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou.

Vissel Kobe are sixth in the J-League after 15 games. They signed Lukas Podolski last year but the German striker is out until the end of June with an injured calf.

 

 

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