Please Wait . . .

'Leader' Iniesta helped Vissel Kobe through coronavirus break despite language barrier - Sakai
Dark Mode
Top Leagues
16-Jul-2020, 05:10 pm

'Leader' Iniesta helped Vissel Kobe through coronavirus break despite language barrier - Sakai


Andres Iniesta, Vissel Kobe

Vissel Kobe's Gotoku Sakai has revealed how Andres Iniesta has stepped up as club captain during the coronavirus pandemic, with the Spaniard keeping spirits high during the stoppage in the J1 League season.

And ahead of leading his team back to the pitch, Iniesta had made sure a dialogue remained open between himself and his team-mates to help with mental well-being during the public health crisis.

“Off the pitch, he really showed his leadership qualities in the time when we were not able to play football,” Sakai told Goal. “He was trying to keep the group together as much as he could despite being a foreign player and having difficulties with the language.

“Being a former captain myself, I know how difficult that can be, to speak to a group and keep everybody together. But he really made an effort to do that, so I really respect him for that.

“In terms of on the pitch, he plays so many incredible passes. Last year, in the semi-final of the Emperor's Cup, he scored a very important goal for us. Every single day I get to play or train with him is something that I treasure.

“Just training with Andres makes you realise how much there is still to learn. Whether it's the timing of a pass or just the way he sees things, you realise there is still room for growth.

“He isn't a big talker, but he's someone who leads by example through his play. He's a big figure who carries a lot of responsibility. What he brings to this club is that he has the ability to deliver in the important moments – that's something invaluable for us.”

Like Iniesta, Sakai is perhaps better known for his career in Europe, where he played in the Bundesliga for eight years at Stuttgart and Hamburg. The Japan international left his home country at 21 but opted to return to the J League amid troubles at the latter side.

While looking for clubs, he admits the former Barcelona star's presence helped him make his choice.

“With regards to my decision to leave Europe, I would break it down into two parts. The first would be my family, they are here in Japan and I wanted to be closer to them again,” Sakai said.

“Secondly, my time in Hamburg became difficult. The team was relegated to the second division and my own performances were under scrutiny – I wasn't playing to the best of my ability.

“It became a very inhospitable environment. Vissel Kobe were very eager to sign me, they were determined and they showed me that. I saw that they had players like Iniesta and Hotaru Yamaguchi, who is a really good friend and a quality player.

“The project excited me, you could see the ambition and potential for growth and the ability to challenge for titles, so that was a motivating factor.”

It wasn't all doom and gloom for Sakai in the Bundesliga, however, with the full-back having the exciting challenge of having to mark Bayern Munich legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

“Overall, Bayern Munich were the strongest,” he said. “In my position, two players stood out and they were Robben and Ribery. They were incredibly tough match-ups.

“To face Robben, you just have to watch out for him cutting in on his left. He always wants to cut in so you have to keep him on his right and make him run straight and not go inside.


Source : goal.com

Recommended News :

Betting

Mason Greenwood Marcus Rashford Manchester United 2019-20

Manchester United vs LASK Betting Tip...

Manchester United will be looking to confirm their place in the Europa League...
Stefan De Vrij Inter Milan

Inter vs Getafe Betting Tips: Latest ...

Fresh from a strong finish to the Serie A season which saw them endas runners...
Neeskens Kebano Fulham 2019-20

Brentford vs Fulham Betting Tips Late...

A place in the Premier League is on the line whenLondon rivals Brentford and ...
Christian Pulisic Chelsea 2019-20

Arsenal vs Chelsea Betting Tips Lates...

Arsenal and Chelsea meet in the FA Cup final on Saturday as they bring down t...
Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham 2018-19

Fulham vs Cardiff City Betting Tips L...

Fulham can book their place in the Championship playoff final for the second ...

Transfer

Adama Traore Wolves 2019-20

'Traore could easily play for Manches...

Adama Traore "could easily play for Manchester City or Liverpool", according ...
Kasper Schmeichel Leicester City 2019-20

'Schmeichel's dream is to join Man Ut...

Kasper Schmeichel's "biggest dream" is to join Manchester United, according t...
Jadon Sancho Borussia Dortmund

Man Utd prepared to walk away from Sa...

Manchester United will pursue other targets if they can’t agree a price with ...
Ferran Torres Valencia Man City 2019-20

Man City sign Valencia winger Torres ...

Manchester City have completed the signing of Valencia winger Ferran Torres i...
Everton Soares Gremio Benfica

Everton to miss out on Everton as Ben...

Everton are set to miss out on long-term transfer target Everton, with the Gr...
image-top-scroll