Having played his final game for Barcelona on Sunday, Andres Iniesta has already found himself new gainful employ after agreeing a move to J League side Vissel Kobe.
There, the 34-year-old midfielder will join up with fellow Euro-veteran Lukas Podolski, who made the switch last year.
Iniesta flew out to Japan on Wednesday in the company of Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of the Rakuten group who sponsor Barcelona and also bankroll Vissel…
Rumbo a mi nuevo hogar, con mi amigo @hmikitani…🇯🇵⚽ ✈ 🌍
Heading to my new home, with my friend 🇯🇵⚽ ✈ 🌍 pic.twitter.com/xeXBw4GYfc
— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) May 23, 2018
Sure enough, the latter club went ahead and announced his signing the very next day…
＼5/26 イニエスタ選手ウェルカムイベント「Bienvenido ANDRÉS INIESTA（ビエンベニード アンドレス イニエスタ）」開催／
— ヴィッセル神戸 (@vissel_kobe) May 24, 2018
According to the latest update from Vissel, their new Catalan “magician” will be officially unveiled on Saturday (26th May).
Iniesta joining Vissel Kobe at this time will be a great stimulus for the entire team and will contribute to the development of the next generation, including the introduction of methods for academies for the youth ages in the future.
Vissel Kobe aims to become the No. 1 club in Asia and expects that joining the same will lead to the revitalisation of the football world not only in Japan but throughout Asia.
In addition, we are expecting a significant increase in fans who will visit the stadium because we can see the world’s best play style and technology.
So that’s that. They’ll be player/coach role at Man City *sniff* next season after all.
We can only assume Rakuten were able to offer Iniesta better terms when it came to shifting his own-brand wine into new burgeoning markets.