Reports: New Club Agrees Deal With Iniesta As China Move Falls Through
Reports: New Club Agrees Deal With Andres Iniesta As China Move Falls Through
FC Barcelona stalwart Andres Iniesta has reportedly reached an agreement with a new club after talks with Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan fell through.
According to ESPN, the 33-year-old will be heading to the Japanese J-League to join Vissel Kobe on a three-year deal that will see him earn about $30 million (R376 million) annually.
Kobe's owner, Hiroshi Mikitani, is also the CEO of the Catalan club's main sponsor Rakuten, and it is understood that this partnership had a lot to do with the deal coming together.
The news came about only hours after Chinese club Chongqing Lifan, who had reportedly offered Iniesta an €81 million (R1.22 billion) deal, announced via an official statement that Iniesta would not be moving to the Chinese Super League after all.
"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, as reported by ESPN.
"We won't rule out the possibility of deepening future co-operation in the Chinese market, but by no means, it indicates that Mr Iniesta will join our club as a player."
Iniesta has also been linked with a few Australian A-League teams, but not much more has come of those rumours.
The Spain legend has made 672 appearances for Barcelona so far, scoring 57 goals and assisting a further 141 strikes.
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