Iniesta announced as Vissel Kobe captain

Japan J-League Vissel Kobe
Andreas Iniesta was announced Vissel Kobe captain this week after Lukas Podolski relinquished the armband. Vissel Kobe has become something of a circus in Japanese football with their big money, big name signings but it has not exactly helped them on the field. 

Iniesta to captain Kobe

Kobe brings in a new manager and suddenly announce a new captain - Andreas Iniesta. Kobe will be hoping that by naming Iniesta their new captain, that will be an upturn in the clubs form and fortune this season as they have struggled to win games, even with their famous signings.

To me, they seem like a collection of individuals put together by a company that seems to be more focused on bringing big-name players to Japan to raise the profile of Rakuten rather than building a team that is capable of winning the J-League.

By bringing Iniesta, and David Villa to Vissel, they received attention globally, which obviously puts a decent spotlight onto the company involved in splurging money into the club. A collection of expensively assembled individuals will not beat a team that is more like a collective in Japan because of the restrictions on the playing squad implemented by the J-League.

In Asia, the majority of leagues only allow 3 foreign players on the pitch at the same time, which means no matter how much money Rakuten spunk on players, they have to rely on building a team. This is something that seems lost on the clubs backers who seem intent on bringing in big fancy names each season.

The proof is in the pudding, and so far Vissel Kobe finds themselves sitting 11th in the league table. The league consists of 18 teams, which means Kobe is currently closer to relegation than they are to winning the league.

The league doesn't lie and is an easy indicator of a club that is running well and performing on the pitch, to a club that isn't performing well on the pitch for various reasons. Kobe however, cannot complain that they don't have the financial backing, unlike some other clubs at the bottom of the J-League who could easily throw that accusation out there if they wanted to.

Vissel won't find themselves climbing back up the league table until they become a team and not a collection of individuals.

Podolski hints all is not well

Podolski hinted that all is not well at Kobe by sharing a post on social media criticising either a fellow player, club, or manager. Who knows who it was aimed at, but the post read, “Stop expecting loyalty from people who can’t even give you honesty,”. To me, this seems like Podolski is having a dig at someone.

Could he just be having a dig at the armband being taken off him? I reckon it sounds bigger than that, either that players don't care, or the club/management haven't been truthful with him. When you see tweets like this, it isn't hard to understand why Kobe is in the league position they are.

Vissel Kobe will finish in mid-table I reckon, and then Rakuten will spunk more money on famous players because it is all about their brand and not the football team. The football team is just a vehicle for their advertising and until that changes at some point, they won't be a successful side.


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