Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta Plots Shock Exit From Vissel Kobe After Struggling For Game Time

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Barcelona legend, Andres Iniesta, is on the verge of leaving Japanese elite division club, Vissel Kobe, after struggling for game time this season.

The Spanish footballer had hoped to bring his legendary club career to an end at Vissel Kobe but is now ready to leave midway through the season.

In a report made available by BBC Sport, Andres Iniesta confirmed he will still continue in his game despite his decision to leave Vissel Kobe.

Andres Iniesta
Iniesta (right) in action for Vissel Kobe

However, he had wanted to retire strong while staying active in the game – a plan he can never realize at Vissel Kobe as things stand.

Iniesta seemed to slam Vissel Kobe manager, Takayuki Yoshida, for his indifference, saying he has trained hard hoping for a starting berth at the club, all to no avail.

Iniesta is obviously treading towards the twilights of his once glittering career but the Spaniard has insisted he want to quit when the ovation is loudest.

The 39-year-old joined Vissel Kobe in 2018 after a historic 22-year-career at Barcelona. Iniesta won the La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Supercopa des Espana, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup at Barcelona.

Andres Iniesta spent 22 years at Barcelona before joining Vissel Kobe in 2018

He raked in a total of 32 trophies in his 674 appearances for the club in all competitions, including several individual awards.

Narrating his decision to quit Vissel Kobe, Iniesta said;

“I want to finish my time here properly and then see what options are available to me.

“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.

“I always thought I would retire here, but things haven’t gone as I wanted them to.

“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.”

Iniesta has won two trophies with Vissel Kobe since joining the club from Barcelona – Japanese Super Cup and Emperor’s Cup.

In 2021, he signed a new two-year contract with the club to extend his stay till 2023. His contract was set to expire at the end of this season but will leave the club before the contract runs out.

After a brilliant start to his career at the J1 League side, Iniesta has dropped down the pecking order. He is struggling for game time. In his 133 appearances for the club since 2018, he has made only three appearances for the club so far this season, all as a substitute.

According to reports, he will play his last match for the club on July 1 before his exit.

While major European Leagues will come to an end with the summer transfer window to be flung open on June 14, J1 League will be midway into their season.

There are reports the former Barcelona midfielder will be eyeing a return to Europe to end his career well hence the call for the premature exit.

Who is Andres Iniesta?

Andres Iniesta is a Spanish professional football player currently plying his trade with Japanese club, Vissel Kobe, in J1 League.

Regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, Iniesta started his football career with Albacete in 1994 before joining Barcelona Academy in 1996.

He made his first senior club appearance for Barcelona B in 2001 before breaking into Barcelona main team in 2002, making 442 La Liga appearances with 32 goals.

After 22 years with Barcelona, Iniesta parted ways with the Catalans in 2018, joining Vissel Kobe.

Iniesta national team stats

Iniesta also had a terrific national team career with Spain senior national team. He made his debut for the team in 2006, winning 131 caps with 13 goals before calling time on his international career in 2018.

Iniesta scored the winning goal in 2010 World Cup final as Spain defeat Netherlands to clinch the trophy.

He won the 2010 World Cup with the team, including 2008 and 2012 UEFA European Championships.

Personal life

Andres Iniesta is a Catholic and a father of five with an adorable family. He is married to a fellow Spaniard, Arna Ortiz, 43. Iniesta reportedly started dating Arna Ortiz in 2008 when he was playing for Barcelona. They got married on July, 2012.

Andres Iniesta

Their first child, Valeria (female), was born in 2011 while the second child, Paolo (male), was born in 2015. Iniesta lost his child through miscarriage in 2014 before the birth of Paolo.

In 2017, the couple welcome their third child, Siena and their fourth child, Romeo, in 2019.

On February, 2023, they welcomed their fifth child, Olympia to the family.

Andres Iniesta net worth

Andres Iniesta has accumulated a fortune throughout his football career. In 2011, Iniesta reportedly loaned his boyhood club, Albacete, €240,000 to clear unpaid wages, making him one of the shareholders at the club.

As of 2023, his net worth was estimated at £31million.

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