Samper says farewell: Vissel Kobe, Iniesta, Pique and personal challenges

The midfielder leaves Barcelona after 18 years with the Catalan club

Samper da las gracias al Barça y explica por qué ha decidido marcharse al Vissel Kobe de Iniesta | Maite Jiménez

Sergi Samper said goodbye to Barcelona after 18 years at the club on Tuesday. The midfielder, who will join Japanese side Vissel Kobe, did so in a press conference at the training ground, surrounded by friends and family, but also by Ernesto Valverde and Carles Aleña. 

Ivan San Antonio

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Also present in the name of the club was Xavi Vilajoana, Javier Bordas, Pep Segura, Eric Abidal, Guillermo Amor, Ariedo Braida and Òscar Grau. Barça B coach Garcia Pimienta was also there. 

Samper, 24, was emotional at times as he covered a range of subjects. 

Farewell: "You're never prepared to say goodbye but the moment deserves it, after 18 years. This is the club of my life, thanks to the push I got from my grandafather from the stands to the pitch. There's not one moment that stands out, there are 18 years. So many experiences... It's tough to choose one. I remember my first day, a trial. We lost 13-1 but I passed the trial and then another 18 years have passed. It's been the experience of a lifetime." 

Why go? "What I want is to play and enjoy football. Vissel Kobe are giving me the chance to do that." 

Iniesta: "Andres was especially key [in choosing to move to Vissel Kobe]. He called me several times, he explained the project, how happy he is there. He's excited I am going. I also have a good relationship with Gerard [Pique] and he was the person who first told me of [Vissel Kobe's] interest." 

Feel valued: "Going to Japan at 24 is not something I'd thought about. But I want to feel valued again and it was an incredible opportunity. It was the moment. It's a risky decision but Iniesta's explained [Vissel Kobe's] way of playing, the coach wants to play football and it's a really technical league. I will enjoy it a lot. It's a decision which has been made in the last week. In four or five days everything was tied up. 

Personal test: "I want to test myself, I want to see how far I can go. I back myself. It's tough to be a success here coming from the academy, keeping in mind the level of the first team. They're the best in the world, but I think that's what Barca have done in recent years, working with the academy, that's when things have gone the best." 

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