FC Barcelona face their first game of preseason against Japanese first division side Vissel Kobe at the Noevir Stadium Kobe. The game will be a special as the blaugranes will come up against former Barça players Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper who all currently form part of the Vissel squad and the fixture will form part of the Rakuten Cup.
Situated in the south of Japan on the island of Honshu, Kobe has 1.5 million inhabitants, the sixth largest in the whole country, and is the capital of the Hyogo region. Surrounded by sea and mountains, Kobe is well known as a cosmopolitan city due to its maritime nature. Kobe is one of the most important ports in the world and the views of the city from its highest point, Monte Rokko, are considered some of the best in the world by night.
Sharing similar geographical characteristics, Kobe and Barcelona have been twin cities since 1993 thanks to an agreement signed by their respective mayors, an accord that includes cultural, educational, sporting, economic and technological exchanges that serve to deepen the links between the two.
The city of Barcelona, with humanitarian aid, helped Kobe overcome the after effects of the devastating earthquake that hit the city in 1995 and destroyed its valuable port area. In November of last year the two cities celebrated the 25th year of their partnership in which Andrés Iniesta played a part. The visit of FC Barcelona to Kobe will be special for many different reasons.
With room for 30,132 fans and situated just outside Kobe, the Misaki Park Stadium is home to Vissel Kobe. Opened in 2001, the stadium hosted group matches in the 2002 World Cup and in September of this year it will host games in the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Before that it will welcome FC Barcelona and Vissel Kobe on 27 July at xxxxx.