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12th Oct 2018

Vissel Kobe defender suspended for one month for Andres Iniesta incident

He won't do that again

Darragh Murphy

Vissel Kobe have handed down a one-month ban to Shunki Takahashi for leaking team news involving Andres Iniesta.

The J1 League side confirmed the decision to suspend Takahashi for letting his friend know how Vissel Kobe would line up before the club’s meeting with the Urawa Reds last month, according to a report in Sport.

Takahashi’s friend was unsure whether he would watch the match so asked the right-back whether Iniesta, who moved to Vissel from Barcelona in May, would be featuring in the game at Saitama Stadium.

Takahashi informed the friend that Iniesta would be left out for the game and that information was soon posted to social media, where journalists spotted the early team news and ran with it.

Vissel found the 28-year-old to be in breach of club and league rules and decided to punish him with a month-long suspension, which began on September 24.

“We sincerely apologise to supporters and everyone concerned for causing inconvenience and worry,” an official statement from Vissel Kobe on their website read.

Iniesta is arguably the biggest name currently playing in Japan’s top-flight and he is such an intriguing figure for supporters that FC Tokyo reportedly hired a lookalike to come out on to the pitch after Iniesta was left out of the matchday squad for their game with Vissel Kobe in August so as not to disappoint supporters who had already purchased tickets.

The Spanish legend has scored two incredible goals in his nine games for his new club since ending his 15-year association with Barcelona in the summer.