Andres Iniesta, the legendary Spanish football player, recently had his final game for the Japanese club Vissel Kobe on Saturday. He is now getting ready to embark on the next chapter of his remarkable career.
The 39-year-old began the game in the midfield, wearing the captain’s armband. They played for the first 57 minutes of Kobe’s 1-1 home draw against Consadole Sapporo in the J-League.
Iniesta played more than 600 games for Barcelona, where he had an impressive record of winning the Champions League four times and securing nine La Liga titles. He then decided to join Kobe in 2018.
He mentioned that he plans to continue playing, but he hasn’t revealed where he will be heading next.
On Saturday, during the 36th minute of the game, he made a daring move into the penalty area and attempted to score a goal, which was met with enthusiastic cheers from the spectators.
However, at the 12-minute mark in the second half, he was replaced by another player on his team as they were losing by one goal.
A fan tweeted, expressing gratitude to Iniesta for his many years of playing for Vissel Kobe, as the Spanish player made his way back to the bench.
Another fan tweeted, “Iniesta, I want to express my gratitude for coming to Japan.”
After the game ended, I noticed a spectator in the crowd holding up a banner that said “Gracias Iniesta” while cheering.
Iniesta signed a three-year contract with Kobe, reportedly earning an annual salary of $30 million. He then extended his contract in May 2021.
In 2019, he emerged victorious in Japan’s domestic Emperor’s Cup and then went on to guide Vissel to the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League the following year.
However, the club has not been using him much this season. He mentioned in May that he wanted to leave Kobe because he wanted to retire while he was still playing actively.
Last month, he had the opportunity to play alongside Kobe in a friendly match against Barcelona in Tokyo. As he left the pitch, he shared a warm hug with the manager and his former midfield partner, Xavi.
Iniesta, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, has been rumored to be connected to a non-playing position at Barcelona.