Andres Iniesta could have signed for another top European club after bringing an end to his glittering 22-year career with Barcelona at the end of last season.
The Spanish maestro, widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, had only just turned 34 and was still producing magical moments for Barça.
Many supporters wanted him to sign a one-year contract extension - but once he’d made his decision to leave the Camp Nou, there was no going back.
Instead of joining another European club, Iniesta decided it was in his and his family’s best interests to embark on a new adventure in the Far East.
He subsequently agreed to sign for Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe, who finished ninth in the J1 League last season.
"This is a very special day. This is a very important challenge for me and my career," Iniesta said at a press conference.
"Therefore, I would like to contribute to my team and show my style of play. That is why I came to Japan and through my play I hope to make contributions for further development for the club and Japanese soccer."
Iniesta's teammate banned for one month by club
Iniesta has continued to show the odd moment of magic with his new employers - although he has failed to drag them up the league table.
After 29 matches, Vissel Kobe currently find themselves in 11th place, nine points off the bottom of the table.
To make matters worse, Iniesta has now found himself at the centre of a controversial incident involving his teammate Shunki Takahashi - although it’s important to note that the Spaniard is not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Vissel Kobe have banned Takahashi for one month, per Catalan newspaper Sport, after sending a text message to a friend revealing that Iniesta would not be in the squad for September's game in Saitama against Urawa Reds.
Takahashi’s friend revealed the news on Twitter and it was then picked up by various local media before he later decided to delete it.
"We sincerely apologise to supporters and everyone concerned for causing inconvenience and worry," the Japanese club said in a statement via its website on Friday.
Takahashi can have few complaints with his ban. Team news should remain private information and he broke that rule by texting his friend.
The 28-year-old right-back only has himself to blame.
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