Podolski, Villa And Iniesta’s Japanese Club To Tour SoCal Next Month
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A Japanese club going on a preseason tour of California wouldn’t usually set the pulse racing, but Vissel Kobe is no ordinary J1 League side. After signing former NYCFC striker David Villa back on Dec. 1, the Ushi (Cows) now boast a lineup that also includes former Barcelona star Andres Iniesta and German legend Lukas Podolski.
Yes, Villa (37), Iniesta (34) and Podolski (33) are in the twilight of their respective careers, but all have shown recently that class is permanent, and it’s not everyday that a side with three World Cup-winners graces us stateside.
Iniesta Assisting Podolski In November
Iniesta’s First Goal In Japan
From the assist of Lukas #Podolski, Andres #Iniesta got J League first goal!
Andrés Iniesta anotó primer gol en J League!#vissel #神戸vs磐田 #WeAreKobe #一致団結 #Jリーグを変えろ#Jリーグ 中継は #DAZN pic.twitter.com/9MhgZMtsSl— ヴィッセル神戸 (@vissel_kobe) August 11, 2018
He's only gone and done it AGAIN!Iniesta's second goal for Vissel Kobe is an absolute beauty! pic.twitter.com/n8sxpgxQ7i
— Goal (@goal) August 15, 2018
Class is permanentAndres Iniesta scores to ensure Vissel Kobe end their season with a win
And there was a certain Mr. David Villa in the stands to see it pic.twitter.com/zXzvtndzWE
— Goal (@goal) December 1, 2018
Villa Free Kick From September
David Villa = Clutch.El Guaje netted an unstoppable free kick to tie the game against D.C. United over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/yFfa3YhrK3
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) September 10, 2018
Vissel Kobe will begin play with a match against the Columbus Crew at the Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine, California, on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. PT. Next, Iniesta and company will play LAFC at its home ground of Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. PT. Finally, Vissel Kobe will head back to Irvine to play Toronto FC on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. PT.
The 2019 MLS season begins on March 2.
Last season, Villa scored 14 goals for NYCFC in 23 games. Podolski scored five goals and added six assists in 24 appearances during his second season in Japan. Iniesta had three goals and three assists in 14 appearances after joining the club last July following the World Cup.
If you’re wondering how Vissel Kobe landed these three players, the club’s owner is Rakuten — the primary jersey sponsor of FC Barcelona and one of the world’s largest e-commerce sites.