Juan Mata follows in Andres Iniesta's footsteps by joining Japanese side Vissel Kobe following Galatasaray departure

Juan MataGetty
  • Mata joins Vissel Kobe
  • Was a free agent
  • Left Galatasaray at the end of the season

WHAT HAPPENED? In the summer, Mata left the Turkish champions Galatasaray and has now joined the Takayuki Yoshida-coached team. After stints with Valencia, Chelsea, and Manchester United in the past, Mata had been without a club since leaving Galatasaray. He now joins Vissel Kobe after the club lost Mata's fellow Spaniard, Andres Iniesta.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mata is expected to fill in for Kobe's former Rubin Kazan midfielder Mitsuki Saito who suffered a serious knee injury against Kashiwa Reysol on August 19 that would keep him out for a year. Kobe plays Kyoto Sanga on Sunday knowing that a win would put them in first place in the current J. League rankings as they are only one point behind leaders Yokohama F Marinos.


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Juan Mata Vissel Kobe GFXGetty

WHAT NEXT FOR MATA? The Spaniard will not be involved with the team during their game on Sunday, September 3 against Kyoto Sanga in a match for the lead of the league.