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Barcelona to face off against Chelsea, Vissel Kobe in Japan as part of pre-season preparations

Barcelona: Barcelona will travel to Japan to play pre-season games against Chelsea and Andres Iniesta's J-League club Vissel Kobe in July, the Spanish giants announced Thursday.

 Barcelona to face off against Chelsea, Vissel Kobe in Japan as part of pre-season preparations

File image of Willian and Sergio Busquets. Reuters

The runaway La Liga leaders take on English side Chelsea in Saitama on 23 July and on 27 July face Kobe, the club Barca legend Iniesta joined last year after helping the Catalans scoop 32 trophies in a glittering career.

Barcelona's main sponsor Rakuten, the Japanese retailer, is organising both games.

"It's wonderful that we can play Barcelona at our stadium. I want this match to bring out the best of us," said Iniesta, who joined Kobe last May for a reported $30 million a year and plays alongside former Barca and Spain team-mate David Villa.

Barcelona, who in midweek booked their place in the semi-finals of the European Champions League, have not played in Japan since they beat Argentina's River Plate 3-0 in the 2015 Club World Cup final at Yokohama.

Chelsea, beaten finalists at the 2012 Club World Cup in Japan, are also scheduled to play J-League side Kawasaki Frontale on 19 July as part of their pre-season plans.

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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2019 18:22:12 IST