Former Spain Midfielder Andres Iniesta to leave Vissel Kobe

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Andres Iniesta speaks at a press conference in Kobe on Thursday.

Spanish soccer star Andres Iniesta will leave Vissel Kobe in the summer, the J.League team announced Thursday.

His final game will be the July 1 matchup against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

“I had imagined that my retirement would happen here, but things sometimes don’t go as you hope,” Iniesta, 39, said at a press conference in Kobe. “I have the desire to continue my time on the pitch.”

He also voiced his intentions to seek a new club.

“Coming to Kobe was one of the best decisions of my life. I want to move forward in supporting the club in a different style and angle,” Iniesta said.

Iniesta has seen his playing time reduced this season with Kobe in the final year of his contract.