Both the 2010 World Cup winners had forgettable debuts as their sides faced crushing defeats.
Iniesta sealed a transfer to J-League side Vissel Kobe on a three-year deal after bringing down the curtains on his colorful Barcelona career, which comprised of 674 matches. Following his move to Japan, ex-national teammate Fernando Torres tooo joined him in J-League, after signing with Sagan Tosu as a free agent, thus calling time on his European career, which included big clubs like Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, and AC Milan.
The Spanish midfielder was introduced for THE last 32 minutes with Vissel Kobe trailing 2-0 to Shonan Bellmare. However, the ex-Barcelona man failed to inspire a comeback as Bellamare scored another goal just 10 minutes after Iniesta’s debut, thus sealing the game and the three points. The midfield maestro was very warmly welcomed by the 26,000 fans present in the stadium as many of them waved Spanish flags for him.
“It’s a shame we lost because I don’t like losing, but this is just the first step of an amazing new adventure. It was a physical game that showed the quality of the J-League,” said Iniesta after the game.
Iniesta had a decent first outing for his new outfit and came close to scoring when he fired a volley just wide of the goal. The 34-year-old could make his first start for Kobe later this week when they host Kashiwa Reysol on 28th July.
Just before the World Cup, Fernando Torres announced his surprise move to J-League side Sagan Tosu, even though he had multiple offers from other European teams. The Spanish striker too started his adventure in the Far East with a defeat as his side lost 1-0 to Vegalta Sendai. The ex-Atletico Madrid forward was introduced five minutes after halftime, when Sagan Tosu and Vegalta Sendai were at 0-0. The #9 had a very average game and was denied a goal on his debut as Kentaro Seki saved his fine header. Takuma Nishimura scored an 87th-minute winner for Vegalta Sendai, thus starting Torres’ new adventure on the wrong foot.
After this defeat, Tosu iarein danger of relegation as they sit second from bottom in the table, with just 14 points from 17 games.