Andrés Iniesta has announced that he will be leaving Vissel Kobe after spending five years at the club.
“It’s a very emotional day after so many years,” Iniesta said in the press conference, where he repeatedly thanked Vissel for his time in Japan.
“I tried to give my best on and off the pitch. I am very proud of that.”
Iniesta, who became an icon in the sport at FC Barcelona and won every trophy in European club football to go along with the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships with Spain, joined the Meiji Yasuda J.League club in 2018 to great fanfare and was central to the Ushi’s rise in Japanese football.
Vissel won the 2019 Emperor’s Cup, the first trophy in club history. That qualified them for the 2020 AFC Champions League, where they made the semi-finals. Their third place finish in the 2021 J1 League was the club’s best ever and put them back in the Champions League, where they made it to the quarter-finals.
Iniesta played more than 100 times for Vissel, scoring 26 times and making countless mesmerizing passes that only Don Andrés could pull off. He brought massive attention to Japanese football and inspired countless people in the country, both young and old.