Tokyo, May 26: Japanese soccer club Vissel Kobe on Saturday presented Spanish international midfielder Andres Iniesta in its team colors amid loud cheers from 8,000 enthusiastic fans.
The former FC Barcelona player appeared for the first time in the Japanese team’s crimson red shirt with his famous No. 8 on the back at an official presentation event in the Noevir Stadium Kobe in western Japan, two days after he arrived in the Asian country and signed a contract with the club.
“Thank you very much for this warm welcome. In these two days that I’ve been in Japan, I have received a lot of affection, and I want to thank you for it,” Iniesta told the thousands, who had gathered at the stadium, many holding up banners saying “Welcome Andres Iniesta” in Spanish.
“I come with great eagerness to work and to learn,” said Iniesta and added that his aim was “to help Vissel improve” and position the club as a champion of the Japanese League and Asia.
Barely a week ago, the midfielder had played his last game for Barcelona and received an emotional farewell from the club and his fans.
He will start playing for Vissel Kobe after the upcoming soccer World Cup in Russia, where he is part of the Spanish national team.
Accompanying Iniesta at the event was Vissel Kobe owner Hiroshi Mikitani - founder and CEO of tech giant Rakuten, who said that the arrival of Iniesta would undoubtedly improve the quality of the Japanese League as well as help in popularizing the game among the youth. IANS