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Andrés Iniesta announces his departure from the Japanese club Vissel Kobe and that he will continue his career in another destination

2023-05-25T18:39:56.147Z

Highlights: Andrés Iniesta has announced his retirement from Barcelona. The 39-year-old says the bench prevents him from retiring as he dreams. "I want to retire on a playing field," he says. His decision coincides with the unemployment of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. All four are tempted by two main poles: Arabia and the United States. The championships of the countries of the Arabian peninsula and the MLS. Iniesta goes on the market in search of one last shield before the goodbye.


The 39-year-old Spanish footballer says the bench prevents him from retiring as he dreams. "I want to retire on a playing field," he says.


The 2018 Copa del Rey final perplexed the fans who watched it and the players who played it. After Barcelona, 5; Sevilla, 0, hid one of the great unrevealed mysteries of European football. Witnesses wondered how it was possible that the best player on the pitch without discussion, Andrés Iniesta, had just played his last game in a Barcelona shirt. With 34 years, the best footballer in the history of Spain along with Luis Suárez and Xavi Hernández, was full of inspiration and physical conditions. But their destination was Japan. I had it decided.

This Wednesday, with half a season of Japanese league consumed, Iniesta announced that he leaves Vissel Kobe, the small club on the margins of football in which he planned his retirement with the perfectionist obsession that preceded his career. "Sometimes things do not happen as one thinks or imagines," said the Manchego at the press conference held on Wednesday. Another mysterious rudder stroke.


Iniesta shows his emotion during the press conference, this Thursday in Kobe (Japan). FRANCK ROBICHON (EFE)

His contract is seven months away. But Iniesta is bored of sitting on the bench. Postponed by coach Tkayuki Yoshida, the midfielder has only played just over half an hour in the 14 championship games played since January. After struggling to stay in the category in 2022, this season the team leads the Japan league. But with hardly any contribution from its captain, who prefers to abandon ship rather than attend the cruise feeling little useless.

"We had always imagined that I would retire here, it was everyone's wish," Iniesta said at Wednesday's news conference. He did not speak in the plural capital. He was accompanied by his wife, Anna, his children, and his friend Hiroshi Mikitani, owner of Rakuten and president of the club. "I really want to keep playing, to keep competing. But sometimes the paths separate. I feel that the coach's priorities are different and I assume that. I hope I've risen to the occasion..." At this point he interrupted his speech drowned out by a dull cry. "As captain of Vissel Kobe I always tried to be an example on and off the field, and help in all facets," he muttered.

A man of reactions as mysterious as poetic, Iniesta tried to help until he understood that to do so he had to help himself. That happened by playing football. Something that after 39 years of life has integrated into his personality more than a trade. "I want to retire on a playing field; I want to continue playing, I feel with the ability and the illusion to continue doing it; Now we will see what options there may be," he concluded.

Iniesta goes on the market in search of one last shield before the goodbye. His decision coincides with the unemployment of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, three of the legendary players who accompanied him in the most fabulous epic that club football has known in the contemporary era. All four are tempted by two main poles: Arabia and the United States. The championships of the countries of the Arabian peninsula and the MLS. The reunion hangs in the air.

Hiroshi Mikitani's dream was to build a power from scratch in Japanese football. His cornerstone was Iniesta, with whom he became friends. Hand in hand with the Barça veteran, Kobe's small club reached new heights. It won the first titles in its history – the Emperor's Cup and the Super Cup – and participated for the first time in the Asian Champions League. It was in the quarterfinals of this competition, in the middle of the pandemic, in December 2020, when Iniesta felt obliged to take a shot in the penalty shootout against Suwon. It was his decision — once again. He was injured but he forced. The gesture of the blow ruptured the tendon of the anterior rectum of the right thigh. The mishap was so serious that the withdrawal was even considered. He decided to have surgery to recover and say goodbye to his career competing. In four months he returned to play matches. He recorded the experience of rehabilitation in My Decision, a documentary with a tone of confession.

Two years later he feels strong. The damaged leg today is an oak tree. But the coach doesn't put him. He has seven months left on his contract but prefers to give up the money. He insists on retiring in full competitive flight. If it's in a minor league, he'll do it feeling important to the team that puts his jersey on him. Before, on June 6, Vissel Kobe will host Barça in Tokyo for a friendly.


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Source: elparis

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