(Reuters) - Former Spain international Andres Iniesta will leave Vissel Kobe midway through the current J.League season, the Japanese club said on Thursday.

The former Barcelona midfielder, who turned 39 earlier this month, joined Kobe in 2018 after a glittering career at the Catalan club where he won 30 trophies. He also won the World Cup and back-to-back European Championships with Spain.

"We regret to announce the departure of Andres Iniesta from our club," Kobe said in a statement.

"For five years since joining, we express our heartfelt gratitude to Iniesta, who has made significant contributions to Vissel Kobe."

Iniesta will leave Kobe after their home match against Consadole Sapporo at Noevir Stadium on July 1. The club are three points clear after 14 games.

He has made 133 appearances for Kobe so far, winning the 2019 Emperor's Cup and the Japanese Super Cup in 2020.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

2023-05-25T04:47:10Z dg43tfdfdgfd