Andres Iniesta is set to leave Japan’s Vissel Kobe

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Andres Iniesta is set to leave Japan's Vissel Kobe

Andres Iniesta is leaving Japanese club Vissel Kobe after winning the World Cup with Spain in 2010, four Champions League crowns, and nine LaLiga titles with Barcelona.

When asked where he may play, he replied, “I have to tell you the truth, I don’t know.”

‘I want to keep playing football,’ he said in Spanish. ‘I feel like I’m still capable of playing,’ he added.

Iniesta was forced to quit the club due to a lack of playing time, since he has only appeared three times in the league and twice more in the cup this season.

‘I appreciate and accept that the coach’s (Takayuki Yoshida) priorities are different,’ Iniesta stated.

Recent reports have connected him to a stay in the Middle East, although no specific teams have been mentioned.

‘After so many years, it’s a really emotional day,’ he remarked. ‘I did my hardest on and off the field. That makes me really happy.’

Andres Iniesta will leave Vissel Kobe but does not intend to retire just yet

The 39-year-old former Barcelona midfielder joined Kobe in 2018 following a spectacular career with the Catalan club, where he won 30 titles.

Iniesta signed a three-year contract with the Japanese club and extended his stay with a two-year extension. According to rumours, he is going because he wants more playing time.

Iniesta, 39, made the announcement during a club press conference in the western city of Kobe.

Iniesta scored the game-winning goal in extra time in the 116th minute of Spain’s 1-0 triumph against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup.

Going to Japan, according to the experienced midfielder, was one of the finest moves of his life. He frequently expressed ‘thank you’ to the club, the supporters, and his teammates.

‘From the first day, I was made to feel welcome here,’ he added.

The J League team announced Iniesta’s departure shortly afterwards.

‘We regret to inform you of Andres Iniesta’s departure from our club,’ Kobe stated in a statement.

‘For the last five years, we have been grateful to Iniesta, who has made major contributions to Vissel Kobe.’

Iniesta will depart Kobe following their July 1 home match against Consadole Sapporo at Noevir Stadium. After 14 games, the club leads by three points.

He has appeared in 133 games with Kobe, winning the Emperor’s Cup in 2019 and the Japanese Super Cup in 2020.

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