Emotional Andres Iniesta serenaded by Vissel Kobe fans after final match
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Andres Iniesta has said an emotional farewell to J-League side Vissel Kobe, with the fans serenading him following his final game with the club.
For the past six years the 39-year-old has been playing in Japan with Vissel Kobe, having previously spent his entire career at the Nou Camp.
After a year in which he has barely played due to injury, which will not have been kind on his mental health, the World Cup winner finished his spell in Japan on Saturday.
He started his first game of the season in the 1-1 draw with Consadole Sapporo and afterwards was serenaded by home fans.
The midfielder was clearly emotional as fans sang his name and the club unveiled a Tifo of the four times Champions League winner, as you can see in the video below.
Despite his advancing years and the injuries he's fought through in recent months, Iniesta is yet to confirm his retirement or what he might do in the future.
Speaking after the game, via Kyodo News, he said: "The last few months have been a really tough period both for me and those close to me.
"I have the desire to retire and close my career while playing on the pitch, and I'm taking my next step in accordance with that emotion."
On his time with the team he added: "I came here in 2018 to fulfill the promise of making this club big.
"I feel I've managed to achieve that, and I've given my maximum both on and off the pitch. I hope you feel as much pride as I feel for this club."
The midfielder helped the team win their first trophy when they defeated Kashima Antlers in the final of the 2019 Emperor's Cup.
They then reached the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League the following season and reached a club record third at the end of the 2021 season.
Kobe are currently in third again this season and are five points behind Yokohama FM with a game in hand over the 2022 champions.
Iniesta has yet to decide what he'll do next but has previously revealed he'd be open to a return to the Nou Camp off the field.