HomeSportManchester United and Chelsea cult hero Juan Mata set for new adventure...

Manchester United and Chelsea cult hero Juan Mata set for new adventure to replace Andres Iniesta


Former Chelsea and Manchester United star Juan Mata is set to seal a return to football with Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

The 35-year-old has been without a club since leaving Galatasaray at the end of last season.

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Mata left Turkey as a champion after winning the Super Lig with GalatasarayCredit: Getty
He looks set to replace Iniesta at Japanese side Kobe

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He looks set to replace Iniesta at Japanese side KobeCredit: AFP

Now he looks set to follow the path of Spain legend Andres Iniesta, who became a legend with the J-League side during a five-year stint.

Iniesta joined Vissel Kobe in 2018 after departing Barcelona, and bid an emotional goodbye this summer, moving to Emirates Club.

His void is set to be filled by his former Spain teammate Mata, according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims the versatile attacking midfielder turned down offers from the Middle East.

A fan favourite at Chelsea and United, Mata will leave European football as a Champions League winner with the former, and Europa League victor with the latter.

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A former Valencia star, Mata left the Premier League after 12 seasons last summer to join Galatasaray.

He helped the Istanbul giants to a first league title since 2019 during the 2022/23 season, and has since been replaced by Hakim Ziyech.

Leaving the Turkish side who have an extraordinary atmosphere and passionate fanbase, Mata can expect similar love in Japan, given the emotional send off Iniesta was given earlier this year, which left him in tears.

Vissel Kobe have a storied history of securing cult heroes, with David Villa, Bojan and Lukas Podolski among their alumni.

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