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Vissel Kobe are slowly building the team you fantasised about in 2010

With Andres Iniesta, Lukas Podolski and now David Villa on their books, the Japanese club is attracting some seriously tasty talent

You’ve possibly heard of Vissel Kobe.

After all, the Japanese club were thrown into the limelight back in May when they signed former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, who left the Nou Camp after 22 years for the riches of the Far East.

In a deal paid for by Barca’s sponsors Rakuten, Iniesta became the biggest foreign import to Japan since Gary Lineker in 1992.

Big cheese

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Big cheese

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In a press release, the club stated that the World Cup winner was brought in by Vissel to help the club establish themselves as the best side in Asia.

It’s certainly a bold vision, especially in a time when the transfer market is dominated by the mega-rich clubs of the Chinese Super League.

But perhaps they’re onto something, as Iniesta isn’t the only big name who’s residing in Kobe. 

Elite

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Elite

Lukas Podolski, the former Germany and Arsenal striker, has been with the team since 2017.

Having joined from Galatasaray, the move went somewhat under the radar, possibly due to his gradual decline in recent years. But of course, back in the day, Podolski was a pretty big deal.

He’s perhaps best remembered for his international career, having made 129 appearances for Germany and netting 48 goals, which peaked when he won the World Cup in 2014.

Double thumbs-up

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Double thumbs-up

And now, joining Iniesta and Podolski at Vissel is 36-year-old forward David Villa.

Perhaps one of the deadliest strikers of his generation, Villa was part of the Spain side that won the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup.

While he’s clearly in the twilight days of his career, Villa moves to Japan after a brilliant four-year stint with New York City FC, where he scored 80 goals in 124 games for the Major League Soccer side.

Anyone for Villa cake?

AP:Associated Press
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Anyone for Villa cake?

Iniesta, Podolski and Villa, all in one side?

We’re pretty sure if this was 2010, Vissel would be considered one of the most lethal sides in the world.

Even so, the team will be looking for an improvement on their 10th place finish this season.

It’s not just Vissel who boast your favourite players from the last decade, with Villa’s former Spain strike-partner Fernando Torres currently turning out for Sagan Tosu, while ex-Man City striker Jo is topping the scoring charts with Nagoya Grampus.

It’s time to load up Football Manager 2009, folks.


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