Iniesta: I will take on new season at Vissel Kobe with enthusiasm

Tokyo, Jan 31 (EFE).- Spanish soccer player Andrés Iniesta told reporters on Monday he felt happy at Japanese Club Vissel Kobe and that he would take on the new season with “great enthusiasm.”

The former Barcelona player, who will turn 38 in May, added that he hoped to have a long future at the club where he has been since 2018.

“I came with the utmost enthusiasm that I could have and the only thing I have been able to verify is that on a personal, family and sporting level I have found a place that feels like my home, which makes me feel very happy, and year after year I am happier,” he said at a press conference held at the team’s pre-season preparation in Kobe (west) ahead of the start of the Japanese League in mid-February.

When asked jokingly about legendary soccer player Kazuyoshi Miura, known to his fans as King Kazu, who struck a new contract this year aged 55, Iniesta said that although he did not contemplate playing at that age, he continued to “feel very excited, very motivated” about his work.

“I have an atmosphere that surrounds me that makes things easier for me: the club, the fans, the city… Everything is very positive and that makes me very happy to practice my sport and try to extend it as long as possible.

“Each year is harder, but (I have) plenty of enthusiasm and am very happy to be able to continue playing,” the midfielder and captain said.

The Vissel Kobe captain said his team was optimistic ahead of the launch of the J1 League.

“Last year we did things very well and we have set the bar very high,” Iniesta continued.

The world champion spoke of the pressure and “responsibility” that comes with a high performance and said the goal was to fare better than the previous year and continue to keep “Vissel at the top in any competition”.

Vissel Kobe finished the 2021 season third in the J-League first division, with 73 points, behind Kawasaki Frontale (92) and Yokohama F. Marinos (79), thus qualifying for the Champions League of Asia together with Urawa Red Diamonds, this year’s champion of the Emperor’s Cup.

Vissel improved their ranking considerably after closing the 2020 season in 14th position.EFE


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