Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder, Andres Iniesta, has announced that he would be leaving Vissel Kobe this summer.
The 39-year-old Spanish football icon who has been playing for the Japanese team for five years will make his final appearance for the club on July 1 ahead of the J-League mid-season break.
Iniesta who was seen as a little god in his first three seasons at the Japanese club, has had it rough so far this season. The 39-year-old former Spain international who is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world has played only three times this season all from the bench.
Even though he has decided to leave the Japanese club due to a lack of regular playing time, the four times UEFA Champions League winner is not thinking of retiring yet.
With 133 games since joining Vissel in 2018, Iniesta has contributed to the team’s victory in the regional Emperor’s Cup and the Japanese Super Cup.
“I want to finish my time here properly and then see what options are available to me,” he said.
“I want to keep playing and then retire while I’m still active. That’s difficult for me to do here, so I want to find a place where I can eventually retire.”
The Spanish legend noted that choosing to leave Vissel was “one of the hardest decisions of my career”.
He added, “I always thought I would retire here, but things haven’t gone as I wanted them to.
“For the past few months I’ve trained hard to contribute to the team, but I started to feel that the coach had different priorities.”
Throughout his 22-year career at Barcelona, Iniesta played in 674 senior matches and won 32 titles for the Spanish giants.
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