Andrés Iniesta wants to continue playing. At just 39 years old, the Mancha footballer believes that he can still contribute a lot with a ball at his feet. He wants to retire feeling important and due to his loss of prominence in recent months, he announced yesterday that he will leave Vissel Kobe in July, halfway through the current Japanese League season.
"It's always hard to say goodbye. I can only be very grateful for everything I have experienced these five years in Japan. It was an adventure that I will remember forever. I have learned and grown a lot. On June 6, I hope to say goodbye to all the Japanese fans in Tokyo in a very special match against my Barça. And at Noevir, on July 1, with my Vissel fans", expressed a visibly excited Iniesta at the farewell press conference.
The former Barcelona midfielder joined Vissel Kobe in 2018 after a brilliant career at the Blaugrana club, with which he won 30 titles. "As I have said many times, I would love to return to Barcelona at some point in my life, but I still think it is a long way off," he pointed out. "Above all, I hope that Xavi will be there for many years as a coach, that would be great news for football," he said of his friend and ex-teammate.
He did make it clear that once he hangs up his boots "the next thing will be to return to Vissel in another area", as "part of the agreement" of his departure from the Kobe team, and in line with the desire that the player had previously expressed to continue being part of the club in the technical or training section of players. "From here on, I like to think a lot about the present, and the present is to continue playing, to try to play football for the years I have left, and then we'll see," he explained.
One of the clubs interested is Inter de Miami of the MLS, who have already inquired about his situation and who also continue to aspire to be able to sign Sergio Busquets. Interested clubs from the Qatari and Abu Dhabi leagues have also approached, in addition to some siren songs that have arrived from Saudi Arabia. In particular, Al-Hilal has shown an interest in Iniesta, who continue to insist on convincing Leo Messi with a juicy offer of 500 million euros. Like Inter Miami, the Arab club would also like to incorporate the Barcelona captain, Sergio Busquets, who will leave the club on June 30, just like Jordi Alba. Iniesta will decide on his new destination in the coming weeks.
Before that, he will play his last game for Vissel Kobe on July 1 at home against Consadole Sapporo at Noevir Stadium. So far he has played 133 games for the Japanese team, with which he won the 2019 Emperor's Cup and the Japan Super Cup in 2020.