Iniesta says goodbye to old friends at Barcelona in friendly in Tokyo

AP , Tuesday 6 Jun 2023

Andres Iniesta said goodbye to old friends as he played for his Japanese club Vissel Kobe against his former club Barcelona in a friendly at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

Andres Iniesta
Vissel Kobe s Andres Iniesta, (8) greets Barcelona s head coach Xavi Hernandez during a friendly soccer match between his Japanese club Vissel Kobe and his old club Barcelona at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Photo: AP


Barcelona won the match 2-0. Iniesta played 674 games for Barcelona from 2002-18, winning 30 trophies. He also scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final.

Last month, he announced he was leaving the Japanese club after his final match on July 1 in the western city of Kobe.

Iniesta played five seasons with Vissel Kobe and has not announced his plans. The 39-year-old midfielder says he wants to keep playing, which he has not been doing much of this season.

Spanish champion Barcelona flew directly to Japan after its last Liga match on Sunday, and was expected to return by charter after the Kobe friendly.

Japanese online retailer Rakuten owns Kobe Vissel and is also its shirt sponsor. Rakuten was Barcelona's shirt sponsor until several years ago. Rakuten is run by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani.

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