Jubilo Iwata August 2018 Barcelona Soccer Diagrams

#24 // Podolski → Iniesta Vissel Kobe 1 – 0 Júbilo Iwata

Andrés Iniesta is 34 years old. Lukas Podolski is 33.

They’re playing in Japan, for a team in 10th place.

Dusting off the boots. Oiling the knees.

And linking up, in this alternate universe future, for a bit of brilliance.




Update: Wait, David Villa just joined Vissel Kobe, too?



What’s going on over there?

China and Turkey have been poaching away star European soccer veterans for years, but Japan never quite joined the hunt.

Now Vissel Kobe is in the mix. Re-animating the Frankenstein monster of the 2010 World Cup… Contracts for Diego Forlán and Dirk Kuyt to be announced in short order.



So—who is this team, anyway?

From the Wikipedia, Vissel is a combination of the words “victory” and “vessel”, in recognition of Kobe’s history as a port city.

Founded in 1966. Nicknamed the Cows (for the famous beef). Owned by Rakuten.

They’ve never finished first in the J League.

As for why they’ve embarked upon this quest to wrangle the best European talent of a decade ago, unclear.

But they’ve got themselves a Podolski and an Iniesta.

Who seem to be the same Podolski and Iniesta of previous renown.

The former assisting the latter to his very first J League goal.



It’s like in the FIFA games, when you pull off a couple strings of lucky trades in Manager Mode and end up with Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben on Celtic FC—

In other words, it feels strange!

Michael Jordan on the Wizards. Joe Montana on the Chiefs.

Didier Drogba playing in China. Asamoah Gyan to the UAE.

And now, this.



But here’s a theory, on the psychology of all this:

Maybe, possibly, if they go there in numbers, it’ll feel more alright.

Linking up for assists, designing set pieces, scoring goals…

As a group, and not lone scavengers looking for contract money in foreign lands.

Which reminds me, of a Japanese saying I came across somewhere:


Akashingo minna de watareba kowakunai


The light is red, but if we all cross together, it won’t be scary.


So get your boots on, Hall of Famers of decade-ago soccer.

And get on the phones, Vissel Kobe.

Get the whole generation back together, so it feels less weird.

Get yourself a Torres. A Puyol. A Klose. Lamm. Sneijder.

And preserve the world of 2010 soccer like an exhibit at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.



The soccer we grew up with, to be preserved for centuries.


In the city of Kobe, Japan.