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JAPANESE J1 LEAGUE

2019/2020 Season

POS TEAM W D L PTS
12 Matsumoto Ya 3 3 5 12
13 Vissel Kobe 3 1 7 10
14 Vegalta Send 3 1 7 10
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FC Tokyo to hire Andres Iniesta impersonator

Japanese J1 League
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Samper confirms Barcelona departure after 18 years, joins Vissel Kobe

Shaka Hislop's power rankings are back and while Tottenham may have fallen out of his top 10, there's an all too familiar face atop his rankings.

BARCELONA, Spain -- Sergi Samper has confirmed that he will sign for Japanese club Vissel Kobe after his Barcelona contract was cancelled, ending an 18-year stay.

Samper, who made one Barca appearance this season, said his desire to play regular football again was the main reason behind his decision to move to Japan at the age of 24.

The midfielder said former Barca captain Andres Iniesta, who signed for Vissel Kobe last summer, had played a key role in convincing him to join the J-League club.

"I...

Barcelona legend Iniesta: I struggled to adapt after joining Vissel Kobe

With Real Madrid back in the picture, the ESPN FC crew assess the chances Barcelona will relinquish their six-point advantage.
Barcelona were held scoreless in Bilbao, but still lead second-place Real Madrid by six points atop the La Liga table.

Andres Iniesta has said he and his family struggled to adapt after swapping Barcelona for Vissel Kobe but they are finally beginning to feel settled in Japan.

Iniesta, 34, left Spain for the Japanese side after last summer's World Cup and said it has been difficult to get used to the cultural differences between the two countries.

"I have to confess that the adaption process has not been easy during my first six months in Japan, in sporting and in family terms," he wrote in Esquire ahead of...

Andres Iniesta explains Three Kings Day photo that prompted backlash

Former Spain and Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has released a statement explaining a social media post that prompted criticism because of a photo that included two people in blackface.

They were among 10 people that appeared along with the 34-year-old Vissel Kobe midfielder in an Instagram post celebrating Three Kings Day, a tradition that in Spain includes parades held in cities and villages featuring three men dressed up as kings - one of whom is traditionally black.

The photo published Sunday...

Andres Iniesta criticized after taking and posting photo with some in blackface

Former Spain and Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has been criticized on social media for posting a photo showing him with a group of people, including two in blackface, as part of the Three Kings Day celebration in Spain.

Iniesta, who was not in blackface, plays in Japan for Vissel Kobe.

The 34-year-old midfielder, who is white, was sitting at the front of a group of 10 people taking part in Epiphany celebrations. Parades held in cities and villages across Spain feature three men dressed up as kings...

David Villa to join Andres Iniesta at Vissel Kobe after leaving New York City FC

Steve Nicol reflects on the impact David Villa has had on Major League Soccer after announcing his departure from NYCFC after four seasons.
David Villa announces he is ready for another challenge as he bids farewell to New York City FC.

David Villa has revealed that he will be joining up with former Spain teammate Andres Iniesta in Japan at Vissel Kobe, after leaving New York City FC.

Villa, 36, departs MLS after scoring 80 goals in 124  appearances for NYCFC. He paid tribute to everyone associated with the franchise, as well as to the team's fans in a video on YouTube last week as he said his goodbyes.

Vissel Kobe chairman Hiroshi Mikitani said: "We are pursuing a new style of play and after talking with the...