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Japan's Vissel Kobe linked to Barcelona captain Iniesta

IANS  |  Tokyo 

captain has been signed by Japanese club Vissel Kobe, a Japanese daily reported on Friday, weeks after the had announced he would leave the former European champions at the end of the season.

Hochi reported that Iniesta had finalized the deal with the club after in Russia, and added that the club could announce the news next week, reports news agency.

The report also said the transfer would be announced after plays its match against Real Sociedad on May 20, and Iniesta is expected to visit following the match, possibly to meet Hiroshi Mikitani, the owner of and Vissel

A club spokesperson, however, refused to confirm the news to on Friday.

Rumors about Iniesta joining the have been rife since May 8, although sources from the club had told that they were surprised by such reports in the Japanese media.

Mikitani added fuel to the fire on May 15 when he enigmatically tweeted "OO," a possible reference to Iniesta's number 8 jersey for

Vissel, based in the port city of Kobe, plays at the -- with a capacity of 30,000 -- and are currently seventh in the standings.

Other famous players of the club include Michael Laudrup, who played in in the 1996-1997 season after leaving Real Madrid and before ending his career at Amsterdam-based

Iniesta, born in 1984 in Spain, announced the end of his career at Barcelona, a club where he played for 22 years, in an emotional press conference on April 27.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 15:14 IST