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3 Aug, 2018 12:30

Seeing double: Japanese club ‘to hire Iniesta impersonator’ after Spanish star set to miss game

Seeing double: Japanese club ‘to hire Iniesta impersonator’ after Spanish star set to miss game

Japan’s FC Tokyo will compensate for the absence of star draw Andres Iniesta from the ranks of opponents Vissel Kobe this weekend by simply hiring an impersonator, according to local media reports.

Former Barcelona ace Iniesta joined Vissel Kobe this summer after calling time on a stellar career in Spain.

The 34-year-old midfield maestro is one of the biggest draws in the J1 League, but will miss Sunday’s game against FC Tokyo as he will be traveling to Spain to help his family with their move to Japan.


That will leave many fans amid the sell-out crowd at the Ajinomoto Stadium disappointed – leading the hosts to reportedly come up with a less-than-ingenious plan to entertain fans.

They have hired comedian Iam Noda to impersonate the Spanish star, making light of the distinct lack of similarity between the pair, according to Sports Hochi.

FC Tokyo sit second in the league, while Vissel Kobe are eight points behind in fifth.  

Iniesta made the move to Japan after spending 22 years at Barca, during which time he won nine La Liga titles and claimed four Champions League titles.

READ MORE: Barcelona legend Iniesta bids emotional late-night farewell to Camp Nou

He was also part of Spain’s World Cup-winning team in 2010, scoring the winning goal in the final, and claimed the European Championship title twice.

He recently appeared at the World Cup in Russia, where Spain crashed out at the last 16 stage in a penalty shootour defeat against the hosts in what was his last appearance on the international stage. 

READ MORE: Putin awards prestigious ‘Order of Alexander Nevsky’ to World Cup coach Cherchesov

He is reported to be on an annual salary of $30 million in Japan.