Andres Iniesta, 39, is ending his association with Vissel Kobe.
“Kobe’s Iniesta, a former Spanish international, will leave the club this summer,” Japan’s NHK reported on Wednesday, adding, “Iniesta will hold a press conference soon to reveal the reasons for his departure.”
Iniesta is a legend in Spain and with FC Barcelona. He won the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa with the Spanish national team. He also won two European Championships. With Barcelona, he won numerous trophies, including nine La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles.
He joined Kobe as a free agent in July 2018. The world was stunned by Iniesta’s arrival, as he commanded Kobe’s midfield like he had forgotten his age and led the team to the 2019 Japan Cup title. It was Kobe’s first title in its history. In 2021, he led Kobe to a third-place finish in the J1 League, the club’s highest ever finish in the top flight.
Iniesta ushered in Kobe’s golden era, but his place in the team has since narrowed. Last year, he was tactically excluded as the team slumped, and this year, while the team is leading the J1 League, he has seen his playing time dwindle. Iniesta has played just 85 minutes in five games this season, including three in the J1 League.먹튀검증
Iniesta’s contract runs until the end of the year. He demanded playing time, which led to his departure. He is currently in talks with several teams about a move, so once he becomes a free agent, transfer talks are expected to move quickly.