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Iniesta Tribute Match: Barcelona Triumphs with a 2-0 Victory over Vissel Kobe in Season Finale

Barcelona concluded their season on a high note, securing a 2-0 victory against Vissel Kobe at the New National Stadium of Japan in Tokyo. The match held special significance as it honored the five-year tenure of ex-Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta, who captained the Japanese team. Iniesta, having decided to leave Japan in pursuit of a new football challenge, saw this friendly encounter as a fitting occasion to receive a well-deserved tribute.

Accompanied by his wife Ana and their five children – Valeria, Paulo, Siena, Romeo, and the youngest, Olimpia, whom he held in his arms – Iniesta, hailing from Fuentealbilla, stepped onto the field. His presence was not just symbolic, as he displayed his exceptional skills and played a pivotal role throughout the game.

While the friendly primarily served as a tribute to Iniesta, it also offered other notable highlights, such as the reunion between Iniesta and former Barcelona teammate Sergi Samper, the debut of Mexican player Julián Araujo, and the young Pablo Torre’s starting position.

In fact, Torre emerged as the standout player for Barcelona in the match, contributing to both goals with his impressive assists. Torre nearly opened the scoring within the first minute, hitting the post, and later showcased his playmaking abilities by threading a sensational pass through the lines for Kessié to score Barcelona’s first goal. Kessié had an opportunity to add another goal but was denied by Meakawa and the Vissel Kobe defense, who managed to deflect the shot for a corner.

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Torre’s corner found Eric García, who headed the ball into the net, securing a 2-0 lead for Barcelona. The Vissel Kobe defense showed signs of vulnerability, allowing these goals. However, spurred on by a motivated Iniesta, who, at 39 years old, continues to exhibit flashes of his remarkable talent, Vissel Kobe began to mount attacks towards Barcelona’s territory in the latter stages of the first half.

Iniesta, Samper, Yuruki, and Saito all made attempts to narrow the gap, but Barcelona goalkeeper Iñaki Peña responded effectively to their efforts. At halftime, both teams made several changes, yet the game remained entertaining after the break. Vissel Kobe’s Patric displayed his powerful shot whenever an opportunity arose, while Barcelona’s Marc Guiu came close to scoring with a header, only to be denied by Maekawa’s impressive save, preventing Barcelona from extending their lead to three goals. Raphinha, Ferran Torres, and Unai Hernández also had notable attempts on goal.

The anticipated moment arrived in the 80th minute with Andrés Iniesta’s substitution, drawing applause from all present. In the final minutes, Muto had a chance to score twice for Vissel Kobe, but the scoreline remained unchanged. Barcelona emerged victorious from the match, a testament to the collective admiration for Iniesta, who remains determined to prolong his career, even if it means continuing elsewhere. Undoubtedly, valid reasons exist for his decision.

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Barcelona vs. Vissel Kobe: A Clash of Incidents

The delegation from Barcelona, under the leadership of sports vice president Rafael Yuste, consists of an impressive lineup of first-team footballers. The roster includes Ter Stegen, Dembélé, Lewandowski, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Iñaki Peña, Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Kessié, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie De Jong, Raphinha, Koundé, Eric García, Gavi, Pablo Torre, and Arnau Tenas. Additionally, several talented youth players, namely Unai, Marc Guiu, Pau Prim, Dani Rodríguez, Julian Araujo, and Héctor Fort, complete the list of participants.

Barcelona vs. Vissel Kobe: Match Schedule and TV Broadcast Information

  • Argentina : 7.30 am / RTVE
  • Brazil: 7.30 am / RTVE
  • Uruguay : 7.30 am / RTVE
  • Paraguay: 6.30 am / RTVE
  • Chile : 6.30 am / RTVE
  • Bolivia: 6.30 am / RTVE
  • Venezuela : 6:30 am / RTVE
  • Ecuador: 5.30 hours / RTVE
  • Peru : 5.30 am / RTVE
  • Spain: 11.30 am / RTVE and TV3
  • Colombia : 5.30 hours / RTVE
  • Mexico: 4.30 hours / RTVE


After more than fifteen hours of flight, Barcelona arrived in Japan to participate in a friendly match against Vissel Kobe, which would mark the end of Andrés Iniesta’s Japanese adventure. The Barcelona team flew directly from Santiago de Compostela, where they had played their last league game of the season against Celta de Vigo.

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Spanish footballer Andrés Iniesta eagerly anticipated the upcoming friendly match between his current team, Vissel Kobe, and his former team, FC Barcelona. In this “farewell” match, Iniesta hoped to showcase his best football without the pressure of earning points.

During an online press conference on the eve of the match in Tokyo, Iniesta expressed his excitement for the unique occasion of having Barcelona in Japan. He described the game as “very special” for him, given the significance of facing Barcelona again in the country where he had played for five years. He viewed the match as a farewell from Japan and expressed gratitude towards the Japanese fans, making the experience even more meaningful and beautiful. Iniesta emphasized his desire to thoroughly enjoy the game.

Iniesta also expressed his enthusiasm about playing alongside both former and current teammates, with whom he had shared many memorable moments. He thanked the current members of the Spanish team for their efforts in joining him on a quick trip to Japan immediately after their last league game. This match held immense personal significance for Iniesta, and he appreciated their support in making it possible.

Where will Barcelona vs. Vissel Kobe?

Barcelona’s match against Vissel Kobe took place at the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.


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