Andres Iniesta has reached an agreement to sign with Japan’s Vissel Kobe, sources have confirmed to ESPN’s Jordi Blanco.
Spanish outlet Cadena Ser were the first to report the agreement between Iniesta and the J-League club. According ESPN’s sources, the 33-year-old will sign a three-year deal with an annual salary of $30 million.
Hiroshi Mikitani, owner of Vissel Kobe, is also the CEO of Barcelona’s main sponsor Rakuten. His participation in the negotiations with Iniesta would have been a pivotal part to close the deal, sources said.
The news came only hours after Chongqing Lifan announced through an official statement that Iniesta won’t be moving to the Chinese Super League due to financial concerns.
“Mr. Iniesta is in deep partnership with sports industrial sectors under our club’s shareholding company, including sports agency, marketing and sales, and youth training,” Chongqing Lifan president Jiang Lizhang said.
“We won’t rule out the possibility of deepening future cooperation in the Chinese market, but by no means it indicates that Mr. Iniesta will join our club as a player.”
News also surfaced on Tuesday that Iniesta was being courted by clubs in the Australian A-League, but Vissel Kobe now appears to have landed the much sought after Barcelona legend.