First team stars Neymar Jr, Gerard Piqué and Arda Turan have taken part in the first events in Japan in relation to the presentation of the Rakuten sponsorship deal. Lionel Messi arrived late in the afternoon, and will be joining his team-mates at Thursday’s events as scheduled.
The first event consisted of a recording and interviews with Rakuten’s own media, after which the players attended a private reception hosted by company CEO Hiroshi Mikitani along with a small group of guests, friends and family of Mikitani's senior executive at Rakuten. The venue was a restaurant in Roppongi, one of the most popular districts of Tokyo.
The Barça players’ presence is starting to be felt in the Japanese capital, but will reach a peak from Thursday when the main events on the agenda will be happening.
The highlight will be a press conference to present the deal between FC Barcelona and the Japanese firm, the first such event since the contract came into force. Institutionally, the travelling party is being led by the vice-president for Marketing and Communication, Manel Arroyo, who will be attending Thursday’s events in representation of the FCB board of directors.
Interviews have also been scheduled with media from Japan and the rest of the world, and the day concludes with an official reception hosted by the CEO of Rakuten and attended by leading figures from the worlds of sport, business and entertainment. The players will also be conversing with fans via Rakuten’s global messaging and voice call app, Viber, which as a result this agreement is also FC Barcelona’s Official Communication Channel. This will be followed by a meeting between the players and Rakuten employees at the company’s own head office, where they’ll be able to get a first-hand look at the premises and spend some time with the company’s staff.