Spanish soccer’s living legend Andre Iniesta, 39, is expected to leave Japanese J1 side Bissell Kobe this summer.
Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported on June 23 that Iniesta is likely to part ways with Kobe after a friendly against his hometown team Barcelona on June 6.
Iniesta, Kobe’s captain, is out of contract in December.
Iniesta’s decision to part ways with Kobe half a year early is believed to be due to a change in tactics under head coach Takayuki Yoshida, who has seen his playing time plummet.
Iniesta has played three games as a substitute without starting this year, totaling just 38 minutes of playing time.
Iniesta made his debut for Barcelona in 2002 and was one of the best midfielders in the world until 2018.
With Barcelona, he won nine Primera Liga titles and finished at the top of the European Champions League four times. For the Spanish national team, he won back-to-back titles at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and Euro 2012. 스포츠토토
Iniesta’s arrival at Kobe in 2018 came as a shock. Kobe owner Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman of Rakuten, personally pushed for the signing of Iniesta, which was rewarded by winning the 2019 Japan Cup and the 2020 Super Cup. Iniesta proved his worth again last year, leading the team to a third-place finish in the J1 League.
With Iniesta’s departure from Kobe, it will be interesting to see what his future holds, as he has opted out of his contract as his playing time has dwindled, and is likely to continue his career in the United States or the Middle East.