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Barcelona book Iniesta & Villa reunion on Japan tour

13:12 BST 18/04/2019
Andres Iniesta and David Villa
The La Liga giants have revealed that they will be facing two familiar faces during a pre-season trip to Asia which includes a meeting with Chelsea

Barcelona have confirmed a reunion with former players Andres Iniesta and David Villa after booking a pre-season friendly with Vissel Kobe.

Iniesta ended a career-long association with Barca by signing for the Japanese side last year, with Villa and former Camp Nou midfielder Sergi Samper now also at the club.

But the trio will all have a chance to catch up with old friends including Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets as Barca are heading to Japan on tour.

Ernesto Valverde's men, seeking to complete the treble this term, will take on Premier League club Chelsea in Tokyo on July 23.

Then, four days later they will head to Kobe to face Iniesta, Villa and Samper's Vissel side to conclude the Rakuten Cup.

Barca director of football Eric Abidal said: "Our partnership with Rakuten is one based on shared values of optimism, empowerment, respect and teamwork.

"We say that we are ‘mes que un club,’ ‘more than a Club,’ and this is more than just a partnership.

"This summer Rakuten will help us to bring the FC Barcelona First Team to Japan and play two special games, against Chelsea FC and Vissel Kobe.

"We’ve had some fantastic battles against Chelsea in recent years and we’re looking forward to playing them again in Tokyo.

"As for Vissel, the match will be very special for us as there are three players who are now in Kobe, but who have been part of the Barca family: Sergi Samper, David Villa and Andres Iniesta.

"We’re excited to bring our unique style of play to our fanbase in Japan."

Mickey Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten Inc, added: "We are incredibly proud to bring these two legendary clubs to Japan.

"The Rakuten Cup will give Vissel Kobe the chance to play against FC Barcelona, one of the leading clubs in European soccer, and fans in Japan the opportunity to see some of the world’s top soccer clubs in action.

"We hope the games will raise the technical level and global profile of Japanese soccer, and we are excited about inspiring the next generation of young talent."