Juan Mata will continue his career at Vissel Kobe

The Asturian footballer arrives at the club where Andrés Iniesta and David Villa have left their mark. Recent Turkish champion with Galatasaray, Juan will play in a team with which he can continue pursuing to win titles.

Juan Mata will continue his career in the Far East. Vissel Kobe is his new challenge in his first professional adventure outside European football. World Cup and European Championship champion with Spain, the former Valencia, Chelsea, and Manchester United player had significant offers from different places worldwide. He has finally opted for the sporting project of the Japanese club, the same one that his friends and fellow successes Andrés Iniesta and David Villa have had a spell. Iniesta recently ended his contract at Vissel after five years with the Japanese club.

The Spanish international’s presentation press conference occurred before the match between Vissel Kobe and Kyoto Sanga (2-1). Later, Juan greeted his new fans for the first time.

“I have always been a big admiror of this country and this culture, so now it’s my time to enjoy it living here. I’m so happy. I feel really proud to sign for Vissel Kobe, a club where great players and great friends who I admire like David Villa and Andrés Iniesta have played. So I’m really proud to follow their steps in this country. Also good friends like Bojan and Samper have spoken great things about this culture and this club. Really looking forward to play in this stadium in front of our fans. I’ll try my best to help the team to win,” said the Spaniard. “The city is really nice, a fantastic place to live because you have everything. It’s a big city but you have nature, you have the sea… it’s also calm. It’s perfect for me. Looking forward to keep going in this new experience, to learn as much as I can and to grow as a person also.”

Led from the bench by Takayuki Yoshida, the Kobe entity will have Mata as a great reinforcement to try to win its first league championship (the J1 League). Vissel is currently first on the table, two points ahead of Yokohama Marinos. Juan will have the chance to expand his spectacular record, which he already did in May after winning the Turkish Super League with Galatasaray. Furthermore, apart from football, he will be immersed in Japanese culture, for which he has always felt a unique attraction.

A leading club in recent years

Vissel Kobe, founded in 1965, plays its home games at the NOEVIR Stadium Kobe, with a capacity of around 30,000 spectators. The arrival of Rakuten into the club’s ownership marked a critical moment in the institution’s history. His record includes an Emperor’s Cup (2019) and a Japan Super Cup (2020). Thanks to this recent growth, Vissel has competed in two editions of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League.

In recent years, in addition to Villa and Iniesta, as mentioned earlier, players such as Vermaelen, Podolski, and Bojan have worn the club’s shirt. However, to find the first international figure who landed at Kobe, we must return to 1996. That year, Michael Laudrup decided to try a new experience after his successful time at FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

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