Kobe (Japan) (EFE).- The Spanish soccer player Andrés Iniesta announced today that he is leaving Vissel Kobe of the Japanese league “by mutual agreement”, and pointed out that he will continue his professional career in another destination.
“I think we had always imagined that I would retire here, it was everyone’s wish,” Iniesta said through tears at a press conference offered in Kobe (western Japan) together with the owner of the Vissel, Hiroshi Mikitani.
Iniesta pointed out that he still wants to “continue playing” and “continue competing”, and affirmed that the decision to leave has been “by mutual agreement” with the club, after assuming “that the coach’s priorities are different” and having little prominence with his team this season.
He stated that he would like to return to FC Barcelona “at some point” in his life, although he still sees that option “far away”.
Japan, “one of the best decisions of his life”
The footballer began his appearance by saying that coming to Japan “has been one of the best decisions of his life”, and admitted that he has lived “very beautiful moments” with his club, but also “other very hard ones” like last season, in in which the team spent a large part of the year in relegation places.
Among the positives, he highlighted the conquest of the 2019 Emperor’s Cup title, and among the negatives, he pointed out the injury he suffered last year and that caused him to miss several games.
“I have continued to work very hard, I have felt very good,” Iniesta said of the last few months.
Loss of prominence at Vissel Kobe in recent months
This Japanese league season, which started last February, Iniesta has only played 85 minutes in five appearances in the League and Cup. His team is the leader of the J-League after 14 games played.
“I would like to try to finish my career as a footballer playing on a football field, and that part is now being difficult,” Iniesta said when asked by the media about his future.
“I don’t know, I want to continue playing, I feel capable and excited to continue doing so, but closing this stage we will see what options there may be,” said the midfielder from La Mancha.
“I feel very proud of this step, of having helped this club to continue growing”, stressed Iniesta, who thanked his club and his fans on several occasions.
The former FC Barcelona player, world champion and double European champion with the Red, received a bouquet of flowers from his teammates and posed with them before the cameras after the appearance, which was also attended by his wife and children.
The footballer, who turned 39 on May 11, joined Vissel Kobe in July 2018, and was part of the best eleven players in the Japanese league in 2019 and 2021, although since that year he has suffered various injuries that have prevented maintaining regularity.