Barcelona Star Iniesta Joins Vissel Kobe with Record Pay in Japan


Tokyo, May 24 (Jiji Press)--Spanish soccer star Andres Iniesta will move from FC Barcelona to Japanese club Vissel Kobe, likely becoming the highest-paid-ever player in Japan's professional football league.

The club based in Kobe, western Japan, announced his transfer on Thursday. The 34-year-old midfielder is believed to have signed a three-year contract, with annual pay of 25 million euros, or about 3,247 million yen, far higher than the existing Japan Professional Football League, or J.League, record of 600 million yen, earned each by Kobe forward Lukas Podolski and former Cerezo Osaka forward Diego Forlan.

The average per-season pay among players in the J1 top division of the J.League is believed to have been around 25 million yen in recent years.

Japanese online shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc. <4755>, which owns Vissel Kobe, has a large-scale sponsorship contract with Barcelona.

At a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday, Iniesta said he will help Vissel Kobe and the Japanese league become widely known throughout Asia.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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