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DONE DEAL: Rakuten announce Andres Iniesta joining Vissel Kobe

Former Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta's move to Vissel Kobe has been confirmed.

Sponsors Rakuten announced in a statement today that Iniesta has agreed a "multi-year" contract. Iniesta will be presented to the local media this afternoon.

Vissel Kobe have already secured international players to its roster with Germany's Lukas Podolski and Brazil's Leandro Montera da Silva and Wellington Luís de Sousa already playing in a key role in the team (Podolski is the current team captain).

According to Rakuten's CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, “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 announced this morning:

"Rakuten Vissel Kobe, Inc., a Rakuten Group company, today announced that Andrés Iniesta will transfer from FC Barcelona, one of the most iconic and beloved football clubs in the world, to Vissel Kobe, the much-loved Western Japan football club.

"Since the beginning of his professional career with FC Barcelona in 2002, Iniesta has not only been one of the top players in the world, he has also embodied the philosophy and values of FC Barcelona with his commitment to teamwork and beautiful play. With a social media presence that includes approximately 74 million followers, Iniesta is also known as a global influencer.

"Iniesta developed his football career through the FC Barcelona cantera, the club's unique youth league system that fosters young players, and his transfer to Vissel Kobe is not only expected to draw in fans from around Japan to see his world-class play style but is expected to inspire the team and contribute to the development of the next generation of players through the introduction of the Iniesta Methodology to the youth academy. Vissel Kobe, with its aim to become the number one club in Asia, also believes that the player's entry into the club will energize football both in Japan and the whole of Asia.

"Through promotion related to Iniesta across multiple channels of the Rakuten Ecosystem, including Rakuten TV, Rakuten will work to build the fan base of Vissel Kobe and the J.League, Japan's professional football league, both in Japan and overseas.

Rakuten, Inc. and Rakuten Vissel Kobe, Inc. will continue to promote the J.League and football in both Japan and Asia, and contribute to the further development of sports and culture."

Carlos Volcano
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Carlos Volcano

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