Andres Iniesta signs for Japanese club Vissel Kobe after leaving Barcelona
theguardian.com -- May 25
Andrés Iniesta has signed for the Japanese side Vissel Kobe after bringing down the curtain on his brilliant Barcelona career.

The 34-year-old midfielder appeared before a packed news conference at a central Tokyo hotel on Thursday along with Kobe’s billionaire owner, Hiroshi Mikitani.

“I’m pleased to announce,” Mikitani said, “that Andrés Iniesta will be signing up play with Vissel Kobe after his historic career at Barcelona.”

Iniesta signed his contract as Mikitani watched, and then spoke through an interpreter. Terms of the contract were not disclosed but Japanese media are reporting he will earn $30m (£22.5m) annually on a three-year deal.

“For me this is a very special day,” the Spaniard said. “This is an important challenge for me. My family is excited to come to Japan and we are very pleased. There were many offers. Other clubs showed interest. But I decided to sign with Vissel Kobe because the project presented to me was impressive.”

Mikitani is also the CEO of the Barcelona sponsor Rakuten, a Japanese online retailer.

Iniesta held up the team’s red shirt with his famous No 8 on the back and his name written across the bottom. The Spaniard is expected to retire from international football after this summer’s World Cup.

Iniesta scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final. He also was a key part of Spain’s two European Championship wins, in 2008 and 2012.

サッカーのJ1神戸は24日、東京都内で記者会見し、世界的スター選手で、スペイン代表MFのアンドレス・イニエスタ(34)を同国1部リーグの強豪バルセロナから完全移籍で獲得したと発表した。
News sources: theguardian.com, Kyodo
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