BARCELONA legend Andres Iniesta is in danger of being relegated in Japan with Vissel Kobe as his fairy tale Asian adventure threatens to turn into a nightmare.
The 38-year-old, who is in his fifth season at the Misaki Park Stadium having joined in 2018, is the current captain of the Cows.
Since arriving from Barcelona four years ago, Iniesta has chipped in with 26 goals in 126 games where he has been a key figure.
He has won both the Emperor’s Cup – the Japanese equivalent to the FA Cup – as well as the Japanese Super Cup where he scored in the penalty shootout victory against Yokohama F. Marinos.
Those trophies are the only pieces of silverware that Vissel Kobe have claimed in their 56-year history.
But his love affair in Kobe could soon be about to change with Vissel dropping into the bottom three of the J1 League with nine games to go.
They currently occupy 16th spot, which would see them compete in a play-off against the J2 playoffs-winning team for the chance to play J1 football.
Vissel only sit two points clear of 18th spot having won just one out of their last four matches.
And to make matters worse, Takayuki Yoshida’s side have just been knocked out of the AFC Champions League in the quarter-finals stages to South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Iniesta has failed to feature in any match in Asia’s premier competition this season due to repeated injuries
He was on the bench for the Round of 16 victory against Yokohama last week, but was omitted from the squad that lost 3-1 to Jeonbuk on Monday.
Despite being hampered by injuries in 2022, Iniesta has still chipped in with three goals and as many assists in 25 games in all competitions.
Retirement is not yet on the player’s mind with Iniesta tied down at Vissel until January 2024.
He will now be hoping his former Blaugrana team-mates Bojan and Sergi Semper help inspire Vissel to avoid a humiliating relegation after they finished third last term