Barcelona Lands in Japan, Set for Friendly Against Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe

Barcelona Lands in Japan, Set for Friendly Against Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe

Ero Samson
June 6, 2023 at 10:18 AM
  • Barcelona closes the season with a friendly against Andrés Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe
  • The Catalans last played against the Japanese side in the 2019/20 pre-season
  • Iniesta brings to an end his five-year stint at the Japanese league with the game

Barcelona have landed in Japan for a post-season friendly with Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe.

With little time to rest after finishing their 2022/23 LaLiga Santander campaign on Sunday, the Barcelona team headed towards Japan to reunite with beloved former player and captain, Iniesta, and with another ex-academy player, Sergi Samper.

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Barcelona last played against Vissel Kobe in the 2019/20 pre-season. Image: Octavio Passos.
Source: Getty Images

The Catalan club will hope to put on a show despite the underlying fatigue from the long season stretch and the 15-hour long flight.

As reported by Marca, the match will be Iniesta’s final game for the club, after announcing he is set to leave midway through the season due to lack of playing time at the Japanese club.

The Barca legend has said he wants to continue playing but it is not clear where he will head next.

There were suggestions that Iniesta could play a half for each side, but Sport reports Vissel Kobe are not too keen on the idea and the legend will simply play for his current side.

Barcelona’s travelling squad to Japan

Head coach, Xavi Hernandez has taken a large squad out to Japan for the farewell fixture.

Both Pedri and Ronald Araujo will miss out due to injury, while Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets will also miss out on a reunion with Iniesta after announcing their respective exits from the club.

The rest of the first-team players are in the squad, along with Julian Araujo, who could make his debut. Youngsters Pau Prim, Dani Rodriguez, Unai Hernandez, Marc Guiu, Hector Fort, and Arnau Tenas will also make the trip.

Facing Vissel Kobe, who are top of the J-league and are yet to lose in their last seven games, could appear a daunting task for Xavi’s men, hence the strong squad.

The last meeting between both teams, in the 2019/20 pre-season, saw Barcelona triumph courtesy of a brace from former forward, Carles Perez. La Blaugrana will surely look to replicate this result.

Barcelona to get UCL ban

Earlier Sports Brief reported that Barcelona could be banned by UEFA from the Champions League and all affiliate competitions next season, despite winning La Liga.

Spanish prosecutors have charged the Catalans with corruption over payments made to former vice president of Spain's referees, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

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Ero Samson
Samson Ero is an experienced sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry
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