In a friendly match played on Tuesday in Tokyo, less than 48 hours after the conclusion of their domestic season, the Spanish champions Barcelona easily defeated Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe by a score of 2-0.
Barça’s Franck Kessie and Eric Garcia both had a shot on goal when they were in the Japanese city of Tokyo. The team was there to give Iniesta a joyous send-off before he departs Vissel the next month.
Iniesta, who played for Barcelona for more than 600 games before moving on to play for Vissel in 2018, has stated that he plans to continue his career in professional soccer but is unsure of where he will play next.
Even though he struck the side netting with a smooth shot in the first half while playing in the middle of the field for the J. League leaders Vissel, he did not get on the scoresheet when the game was played at Tokyo’s National Stadium.
After Iniesta departed the field in the 80th minute to warm applause, Barcelona manager and former midfield partner Xavi hugged him on the sideline. Iniesta had played with Xavi throughout his time at Barcelona.
After suffering a season-ending loss on the road to Celta Vigo by the score of 2-1, Barcelona flew directly from Spain to Japan, arriving less than 24 hours before the match was scheduled to begin.
Kessie gave them the lead with little under 15 minutes left on the clock after a young player named Pablo Torre had struck the post in the second minute.
Kessie’s finish was faultless after Torre’s deft through-ball carved a hole in the Kobe defense, and Torre’s pass helped set up the scoring opportunity.
Two minutes later, Garcia scored a goal for Barcelona by heading the ball in directly from a corner kick.
Kobe went on to make a game out of it, and Iniesta hit the side netting before Koya Yuruki got a wonderful double save out of Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena. Iniesta struck the side netting. Kobe went on to make a game out of it.
The Brazilian striker Jean Patric had two outstanding attempts in the second half, both of which came close to scoring.
Iniesta signed with Vissel in 2018 following a successful career with Barcelona, during which he won four Champions League titles and nine La Liga championships.
He initially agreed to work for Vissel for a period of three years at a reported yearly compensation of $30 million; the contract was extended in May 2021.
Iniesta guided Vissel to the semifinals of the Asian Champions League the following year after leading Japan’s local Emperor’s Cup tournament to victory in 2019.
However, he has only been off the bench three times for a combined total of 38 minutes for Vissel thus far this season.