Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta announces he will leave Japanese side Vissel Kobe this summer - but the 39-year-old has no plans to retire just yet

  • Iniesta to leave Vissel Kobe
  • Will continue as a player
  • Will begin the hunt for a new club

WHAT HAPPENED? The 2010 World Cup winner announced that he would leave the J-League outfit in July, midway through the ongoing J-League season. The midfielder joined Kobe in 2018 on a three-year deal and extended it by two years until January 2024. However, he has struggled to get minutes in J League, making just three substitute appearances this season, which might have forced him to take this call.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: However, Iniesta will not end his playing career anytime soon and will seek a new club for his next challenge. There have been reports which have linked him to a move to a Middle East club but with very few details.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I want to keep playing football. I feel like I am capable of still playing. But as this chapter closes, we'll see what's possible. I want to finish my career on the pitch playing, and this is what I'm hoping to do. [But] I have to tell you the truth, I don't know," the Spaniard told reporters.

"I was made to feel welcome here from the first day. It's a very emotional day after so many years. I tried to give my best on and off the pitch. I am very proud of that," he added.

DID YOU KNOW? After winning 30 trophies with Barcelona, Iniesta moved to Japan where he won the Emperor's Cup in 2019 and the Japanese Super Cup in 2020.


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WHAT NEXT? Iniesta will play his final match in Kobe colours against Consadole Sapporo at Noevir Stadium on July 1.