- Mata to join Vissel Kobe
- Last played for Galatasaray
- Wants a fresh challenge
WHAT HAPPENED? According to The Athletic, former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata is set to embark on a new journey, after he opted to join Japanese club Vissel Kobe. After his recent stint with Galatasaray, Mata had enticing offers from Saudi Arabia and Dubai. However, the 35-year-old World Cup winner decided to embrace the J-League and the culture of Japan.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mata's choice is reminiscent of his fellow former Spain international, Andres Iniesta, who also played for Vissel Kobe until earlier this year. Additionally, another ex-colleague, David Villa, spent a fruitful year with the club in 2019.
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WHAT NEXT? Mata's move to Vissel Kobe reflects a growing trend of established football stars exploring new horizons in leagues outside of Europe, drawn not only by competitive football but also by unique cultural experiences. Mata is likely to miss Kobe's date with Kyoto Sanga in the J-League on Sunday but could make his debut on September 16 against Sanfrecce away from home.