The endless speculations of where Andres Iniesta will go next after an illustrious career at Barcelona is officially over.

Not China, Australia or the Middle East (like former Barcelona teammate Xavi) but Japan.

The J.League is now home to one of the best players in the world and Vissel Kobe are once again showing their ambition to move from a middling Japanese team to the best in Asia.

Iniesta, after penning what sure must be a lucrative deal, said: "This is a very special day for me. This is a very important challenge for my career. I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude for your trust in this project.

Iniesta

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"There were many offers. I'd like to thank the other clubs who showed an interest. The reason I chose Vissel is because this is a very interesting project. They trusted me as a player.

"Japan is amazing, the culture is good. I'd like to get used to Japan, enjoy the life here and get into the team."

The club’s chairman, Hiroshi Mikitaini – who is the chief executive of Japanese electronics company Rakuten, who are Barcelona’s shirt sponsors – believes Iniesta can be "a terrific inspiration for Japanese football society" and help Vissel Kobe complete their "goal of becoming the number one club in Asia".

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