East Asia Japan

Iniesta Set to Leave Vissel Midway Through Season

After five years at Vissel Kobe, former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has announced that he will depart the club midway through the 2023 J.League 1 campaign, however the 39-year old has no plans of retiring.

Iniesta will play his final match for Vissel on July 1st, a home match against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

“I want to finish my time here properly and then see what options are available to me,” said Iniesta, as quoted from BBC Sport, “I want to keep playing and then retire while I’m still active. That’s difficult for me to do here, so I want to find a place where I can eventually retire.”

After making over than 600 appearances for Barcelona and winning 32 trophies with them, Iniesta moved to Vissel in 2018, where he would make 133 appearances and won both the 2019 Emperor’s Cup and the 2020 Japanese Super Cup.

The 2023 campaign saw Iniesta falling down quite significantly down the pecking order, only making three substitute appearances for Takayuki Yoshida’s league leaders.

Leaving Vissel was “the hardest decision” that Iniesta had to made,

“I always thought I would retire here, but things haven’t gone as I wanted them to,” said Iniesta, “For the past few months I’ve trained hard with the intention of contributing to the team, but I started to feel that the coach had different priorities.”