Former Barcelona and Spain midfield maestro, Andres Iniesta, has announced his departure from Vissel Kobe after spending five memorable years with the Japanese club.
The 39-year-old football icon will bid farewell to his teammates and fans on 1st July, marking the midpoint of the J-League season.
Despite only making three substitute appearances for Vissel this season, Iniesta has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet.
He expressed his desire to conclude his tenure at the club in a proper manner before exploring the various options available to him.
“I am determined to finish my time here in a fitting manner and then assess the potential avenues that lie ahead,” Iniesta explained. “My goal is to continue playing at a high level before eventually retiring while I’m still actively involved in the game. Achieving that objective has proven challenging for me here, so I aim to find a suitable destination where I can eventually conclude my illustrious career.”
Joining Vissel Kobe in 2018, Iniesta has left an indelible mark on the club, accumulating an impressive 133 appearances.
During his time in Japan, he secured the Emperor’s Cup in 2019 and the Japanese Super Cup the following year, adding to his already remarkable trophy collection.
Prior to his Asian adventure, Iniesta enjoyed a remarkable 22-year tenure at Barcelona, where he amassed 32 trophies in 674 senior appearances.
Parting ways with Vissel Kobe proved to be an arduous decision for the midfield maestro.
“I always envisioned retiring here, but circumstances haven’t unfolded as I had hoped,” Iniesta revealed. “Over the past few months, I have diligently trained with the intention of contributing to the team. However, I began to sense a disparity in priorities between myself and the coach.”