Vissel Kobe signs Iniesta from Barcelona

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Japanese side, Vissel Kobe has announced the signing of Barcelona star, Andrés Iniesta.

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.

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. 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,” Iniesta said.

Iniesta, who announced last month that he would leave Barcelona after 16 seasons, held up the team’s red shirt with his famous No 8 on the back and his name written across the bottom.

His last match for the Spanish club was on Sunday against Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou and is expected to retire from international football after this summer’s World Cup.

Vissel Kobe are currently sixth in the J-League after 15 games.

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