IANS

Ex-Barcelona striker Villa signs with Japan’s Vissel Kobe, joining Iniesta

Tokyo, Dec 1 (IANS) Former Barcelona striker David Villa announced on Saturday that he had signed for top-tier Japanese club Vissel Kobe, joining his compatriot and ex-Barça midfielder Andres Iniesta.

The 36-year-old former Spain international and 2010 FIFA World Cup winner is to leave Major League football side New York City FC when his contract expires December 31, after scoring 80 goals in 124 MLS games, reports Efe news.

“It’s decided. I have a new destination. A great challenge awaits. Asia. New trips. New country. New culture. New teammates. Hello Japan. Hello Vissel Kobe,” Villa said in a video posted on his official Twitter handle on Saturday.

Villa also held a press conference at Vissel’s stadium alongside the club’s tech billionaire owner, Hiroshi Mikitani.

The striker said he was drawn to Vissel by his desire to participate in a project under construction, where he could play technical, possession-based soccer.

“Here’s the player who best channels that game: Iniesta,” Villa added, saying his former teammate was a longtime friend whose presence in Japan helped influence his move to Vissel.

New York City FC had reported Wednesday that Villa would be leaving the club, without saying where.

Villa joined New York in 2014 from Atletico Madrid after playing for Barcelona, Valencia and Real Zaragoza.

–IANS
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