Andres Iniesta has completed a move to Vissel Kobe just days after leaving Barcelona, the Japanese side announced.
The Spain playmaker left the Spanish champions at the end of last week after more than 20 years at the club.
Iniesta, 34, moves for an undisclosed fee and has signed a contract that a club press release says will keep him at the club for “multiple years.”
Vissel Kobe, coached by Takayuki Yoshida, sit sixth in the Japanese top flight after 15 games of their season, already 15 points behind runaway leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Their squad includes former Germany and Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski.
On Wednesday night, Iniesta was shown on an aeroplane locking hands with Hiroshi Mikitani, who owns Vissel Kobe and is the founder and chief executive of e-commerce giant Rakuten, which is Barcelona’s main shirt sponsor.
Mikitani said in the press release: “By giving both fans and players the opportunity to see Iniesta’s world-class play style and technique, we believe his decision to come to Japan will have a major impact on not just Vissel Kobe, but on football in Japan as well as the whole of Asia. As the ‘New Vissel Kobe,’ we will work to achieve our goal of the becoming the No.1 club in Asia.
“His arrival in Japan will raise the profile of Japanese football globally, and we are already working on multiple activities to leverage his presence here and promote the J.League around the world.”
Rakuten is Barcelona’s main club sponsor, having struck a big-money deal with the La Liga giants 18 months ago.
Iniesta left Barcelona after landing his ninth league title with the club. He also secured a host of other honours including four Champions League triumphs.
A World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, he captained Barcelona during his final three seasons at the club.
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