Andres Iniesta seemingly confirmed his highly-awaited signing with Japan’s Vissel Kobe early on Tuesday morning, publishing a photo to his social media account in which he can be seen shaking hands with club owner Hiroshi Mikitani.
Buzz surrounding the transfer had intensified since earlier this month, when the Rakuten chairman attended the Clasico showdown between Barcelona and archrivals Real Madrid.
While Vissel officials claimed that Mikitani had not traveled to Spain to negotiate with the veteran, reports from Spanish media mounted and the agreement was confirmed by Japan’s national broadcaster NHK on Wednesday night.
Japanese media have reported that Iniesta could earn over three billion yen (US$27 million) per season over a three-year period, a sum that dwarfs the J.League record salaries of US$5.5 million per year paid to Lukas Podolski and Diego Forlan.
While the J1 League will resume in mid-July following a two-month break for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Japanese media have speculated that Iniesta could make his debut in August should Spain advance deep into the knockout stages of the competition in Russia.
Details of the signing are expected to be revealed on Thursday afternoon, when Iniesta and Mikitani will hold a press event in Tokyo.