KOBE: Carles Perez scored his first two goals for Barcelona as the Spanish giants won 2-0 against a Vissel Kobe side featuring Andres Iniesta, a legend of the Catalan club.
As Kobe’s Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper were all reunited with their former team, it was Perez who stole the limelight with a top-class double.
The 21-year-old, a product of Barcelona’s academy, played a one-two inside the box and nutmegged the goalkeeper for his first goal, and fired a stunning left-footer for his second in the dying minutes.
Iniesta had his chances and 28,000 fans sighed their frustration as he put a fierce shot just wide.
“It was my first goal for Barcelona and I’m glad to score even two,” Perez said.
“It’s been my dream to score goals for this great team since my childhood,” he added.
The win wrapped up Barcelona’s pre-season friendlies in Japan following their 2-1 loss to Chelsea earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Belgian international defender Thomas Vermaelen has become the latest high-profile player to move to Vissel Kobe.
The 33-year-old, whose contract with Barcelona has now expired, will team up with David Silva, Lucas Podolski and his former Barca captain Andres Iniesta.
Vermaelen, who is reported to have turned down an offer to join Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht, passed his medical and visited the club’s training complex.
“I’m very excited to be here to help the team, to improve the team,” he told a news conference in Kobe, western Japan, ahead of the match between Bercelona and Vissel Kobe.
“I will do all my best to make this team better and I will show you that I will give my everything for this club,” he said.
Vermaelen said he planned to share his experience at Barcelona with the Japanese club, saying: “I try to bring the complete package into this team.”
Vermaelen began his career at Ajax before moving on to Arsenal and Barcelona with a loan spell at Roma.
He has played 74 times for Belgium, most recently in the 3-0 Euro qualifier win against Scotland in June.
Vissel Kobe are currently 15th in the 18-team J-league.