Spain’s world star Andrés Iniesta will leave Japanese top-flight club Vissel Kobe this season. “We say thank you very much for the five years since he’s been there,” said the leaders of the J-League, for whom former German international Lukas Podolski also played from 2017 to 2020, on Thursday. After the home game against Consadole Sapporo on July 1, Iniesta will say goodbye.
It was initially unclear where the 39-year-old world champion from 2010 and two-time European champion was going.
The former Barcelona pro played 133 times for Kobe, scoring 21 goals. Saying goodbye to Kobe is “one of the hardest decisions of my career,” said the midfielder, “but things didn’t go the way I wanted.”
With the club, he won the 2019 Japanese Emperor’s Cup and the 2020 J-League Super Cup. Since the beginning of this year, Iniesta has only been used as a substitute.
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Iniesta is not yet thinking about the end of his career. “First I want to finish my time here and then see what opportunities I have,” said the Barça legend and ruled out a line under his career: “I still want to play. It’s difficult for me here, so I want to find another place where I can retire. “(dpa / dv)
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