Andres Iniesta Proudly Flying the Spanish Flag in Japan

Former Spain international and iconic FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta made his official J.League debut on July 22nd, although the media back home seemed more interested in his boots, rather than his performance on the pitch with his new club. Following the official announcement in May that Iniesta was calling time on an illustrious and trophy-laden career at Barcelona, spanning an impressive total of 22 years with the club, football fans in Japan had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see the iconic Spanish star in action with his new team, Vissel Kobe.

Inevitably, the capture of such a talented player as midfield maestro Iniesta, even in what is considered by most to be the twilight of his career, has piqued interest from those who focus on J-League betting at William Hill and amongst followers of Japanese football in general, all keen to see what impact the Spaniard will have at his new club.

Image Source: @vissel_kobe via Twitter

The first appearance for Iniesta came from the bench, replacing Kazuma Watanabe in the 59th minute. However, Vissel were already trailing 2-0 at home against Shonan Bellmare, and went on to lose the game 3-0 in the end. Many fans packed inside the stadium waved Spanish flags to welcome the 34-year-old, who showed some typical examples of his style and quality during the minutes he played.

Meanwhile, back in Spain, some media outlets chose to focus on the Spanish flag featured on the heel of Iniesta’s boots, rather than his touches of the ball for his team. The significance of this in their eyes? Simply that he never sported a Spanish flag on his boots during all the years he played for Barca, suggesting that he might not have been allowed to do so at the Catalan club.

“Even though I’m in Japan, they’re looking for unnecessary controversy,” posted Iniesta via his official Twitter account with ironic applause emojis, after after spotting the article published by Cuatro, a Spanish TV station, which hinted that the iconic player might have been inhibited from demonstrating pride for his country, whilst at Barca, due to their high-profile support for Catalan independence from Spain.

Whilst playing for FC Barcelona, Iniesta always made a point of distancing himself from any polemic political debates, preferring to focus entirely on his football activities and nothing more.

 

Image Source: @vissel_kobe via Twitter

However, it seems pretty clear from his tweet that Iniesta is tired of the Spanish media trying to create controversies, where in his opinion there are none. Indeed, as highlighted by Marca, these are the same boots Iniesta wore at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, whilst playing for Spain in his final international outings for La Roja.

Interestingly, despite the huge rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona, or the feelings of fans supporting other clubs towards the two giants of Spanish football, Iniesta was always applauded whenever he appeared in stadiums throughout the country, which demonstrated a level of respect rarely seen for any player, particularly after his winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when he instantly became a national hero


 

Hits: 59

J1 Standings

 

. Team Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif.
1 Sanfrecce 41 13 2 2 26 8 18
2 FC Tokyo 34 10 4 3 27 15 12
3 Frontale 33 10 3 4 25 13 12
4 Consadole 27 7 6 4 21 19 2
5 Cerezo 27 7 6 4 21 20 1
6 Vissel 25 7 4 6 24 20 4
7 Antlers 25 7 4 6 23 21 2
8 Vegalta 25 7 4 6 20 26 -6
9 S-Pulse 24 7 3 7 24 22 2
10 Jubilo 23 6 5 6 18 18 0
11 Bellmare 22 6 4 7 21 23 -2
12 Urawa Reds 21 5 6 6 16 15 1
13 F.Marinos 20 5 5 7 33 31 2
14 Reysol 20 6 2 9 21 26 -5
15 V.Varen 17 5 2 10 21 28 -7
16 Gamba 15 4 3 10 15 25 -10
17 Sagan Tosu 14 3 5 9 15 23 -8
18 Grampus 10 2 4 11 15 33 -18

J2 Standings

. Team Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif.
1 Fagiano 16 5 1 1 8 2 +6
2 Zelvia 15 4 3 0 11 6 +5
3 Trinita 14 4 2 1 15 7 +8
4 Renofa 14 4 2 1 15 10 +5
5 Verdy 13 3 4 0 9 3 +6
6 Roasso 12 4 0 3 11 11 0
7 Hollyhock 11 3 2 2 9 5 +4
8 Albirex 11 3 2 2 8 6 +2
9 Avispa 11 3 2 2 9 8 +1
10 YokohamaFC 11 3 2 2 7 9 -2
11 Zweigen 9 2 3 2 10 7 +3
12 Vortis 9 3 0 4 7 9 -2
13 Ventforet 8 2 2 3 7 7 0
14 Yamaga 7 1 4 2 9 10 -1
15 JEF United 7 2 1 4 12 14 -2
16 FCGifu 7 2 1 4 11 13 -2
17 Ardija 7 2 1 4 10 12 -2
18 TochigiSC 7 2 1 4 8 15 -7
19 Montedio 6 1 3 3 8 12 -4
20 Sanga 6 1 3 3 6 10 -4
21 EhimeFC 6 2 0 5 5 11 -6
22 Kamatamare 4 1 1 5 5 13 -8

J3 Standings

. Team Pts GP W D L GF GA G.Dif.
1 Gainare 13 5 4 1 0 11 5 +6
2 AzulClaro 12 4 4 0 0 8 0 +8
3 FCRyukyu 10 5 3 1 1 11 8 +3
4 Gamba U23 10 5 3 1 1 10 8 +2
5 Fukushima 10 5 3 1 1 6 4 +2
6 Cerezo U23 9 4 3 0 1 6 3 +3
7 Blaublitz 6 5 2 0 3 4 4 0
8 Fujieda 6 5 2 0 3 6 9 -3
9 Parceiro 5 4 1 2 1 4 4 0
10 YSCC 5 5 1 2 2 7 8 -1
11 Kagoshima 4 4 1 1 2 5 5 0
12 Grulla 4 5 1 1 3 6 8 -2
13 Giravanz 4 4 1 1 2 4 6 -2
14 Thespa 4 4 1 1 2 3 5 -2
15 Tokyo U23 3 5 1 0 4 4 9 -5
16 Kataller 3 5 1 0 4 6 12 -6
17 Sagamihara 2 4 0 2 2 7 10 -3