Andres Iniesta extends his contract at Vissel Kobe, will play until 39

Cameron Smith
Andres Iniesta extends his contract at Vissel Kobe, will play until 39

Legendary Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has extended his current deal at Japanese club Vissel Kobe.

The former Barcelona playmaker has signed a two-year extension on the day of his 37th birthday that will see him play until he is 39-years-old.

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Iniesta made over 650 appearances for boyhood club Barcelona, winning nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copa del Rey trophies as well as the 2010 World Cup with Spain.

He left Camp Nou for Japan in 2018, and has since made 75 appearances for Vissel Kobe, scoring 16 goals and assisting 18. He won the Emperor’s Cup in 2019 and followed that up with the Japanese Super Cup in 2020.

What has been said by Iniesta and the club?

Vissel Kobe released a club statement saying: “We are pleased to inform you that we have agreed to renew the contract with midfielder Andres Iniesta (37) and extend it until 2023.

“With this contract renewal, we will continue to advance the projects we have been working on with Rakuten Group Co. Ltd. and Vissel Kobe since joining in 2018.”

Iniesta himself said: “Here in Japan we feel at home and I am very happy to continue leading this project. The great challenge is to continue making Vissel Kobe grow and I will do my best to do that,” as quoted by El Mundo Deportivo.

The presentation of the contract extension happened at the Hotel The Prince Park Tower in Tokyo, with the owner of the club and its sponsor Rakuten Hiroshi Mikitani also present.

Iniesta’s contract was due to expire this summer, but he has decided to extend it to remain at the club that are currently fifth in the J-League, 18 points behind current leaders Kawasaki Frontale, with two games in hand.

Their next game is against seventh placed Cerezo Osaka on Saturday 15 May.