During a press conference held on Thursday, Iniesta, adorned with four Champions League trophies and nine La Liga titles from his time at Barcelona, fought back tears as he confirmed his exit from the J-League team.
Expressing his uncertainty about his future club, Iniesta shared, “To be honest, I don’t know. I want to keep playing football. I still feel capable of playing. However, as this chapter comes to a close, we will see what opportunities arise. My aim is to conclude my career on the field, and that’s what I hope to achieve.”
While there have been reports linking Iniesta to a potential move to the Middle East, no specific details about clubs have emerged.
“It’s an incredibly emotional day after spending so many years here,” Iniesta expressed. “I have always strived to give my best, both on and off the pitch. I am immensely proud of that.”
Following his illustrious tenure at Barcelona, Iniesta signed a three-year contract with Vissel Kobe in 2018, subsequently extending it for an additional two years. Reports suggest that his decision to leave is motivated by a desire for more playing time.
Having just celebrated his 39th birthday, Iniesta made the announcement at a news conference held in the western city of Kobe.
It is anticipated that Iniesta’s final game for the club will take place on July 1, providing an opportunity for fans to bid farewell to the midfield maestro. Vissel Kobe currently leads the J-League standings by three points after completing 14 rounds.
Remembered for his crucial goal in the 116th minute of the 2010 World Cup final, securing Spain’s first-ever World Cup triumph with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands, the veteran midfielder described his decision to move to Japan as one of the best choices he has made in his life. He expressed gratitude to the club, the fans, and his fellow players, repeatedly stating, “Thank you” during the press conference.