Andres Iniesta

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Andres Iniesta criticized for blackface photo

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Andres Iniesta has been heavily criticized for a photo he posted online with individuals in blackface.

Iniesta, 34, took part in the Epiphany celebrations, part of Spain’s Three Kings Day, and two of the men shown  in the photo have been painted black.

Balthazar, one of the kings who visits Jesus, is usually played by a white man in blackface in Spain. Three Kings Day (January 6) is a very important Christian holiday in Spain, as the visit to baby Jesus of magi Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar is celebrated.

Iniesta has left the photo up on his social media account and has not responded to being heavily criticized.

The current Vissel Kobe midfielder, who joined the Japanese side from Barcelona earlier this year, is the most decorated Spanish player in history with 33 trophies won with Barca and the Spanish national team.

Below is the photo at the center of the uproar.

Andres Iniesta keeps scoring for new club Vissel Kobe

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Andres Iniesta’s departure from long-time club Barcelona is still taking some getting used to for those in Spain, however, the former Catalan midfielder seems to be adjusting just fine in his new life in Japan.

[ MORE: Newcastle clears DeAndre Yedlin after opening day PL injury ]

Iniesta made his debut for J-League side Vissel Kobe last week, which fittingly resulted with a victory and a goal of epic proportions from the Spain international.

His second time out on the pitch resulted in a similar outcome; with a goal that brought the Vissel Kobe supporters to their feet (watch below).

WATCH: Iniesta’s sensational turn leads to Vissel Kobe goal

Meika Fujio/Kyodo News via AP
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And now we take a quick trip to Japan, where Andres Iniesta is developing his wine business and OH… MY… GOODNESS.

The Barcelona legend, 34, scored a wonderful goal off a silky turn for his new club Vissel Kobe on Saturday.

[ MORE: Yedlin injured for Newcastle ]

Iniesta starts the play at midfield and then runs 50 yards seemingly unnoticed to get on the end of a terrific ball.

He then turns it with barely a touch, spinning to work his way into a familiar scoring position.



Messi named latest captain of Barcelona

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Are you sitting down? Because this is a shocker.

Okay, not so much (It’s difficult to convey sarcasm this early in a post).

Lionel Messi has taken the arm band from Andres Iniesta as Barcelona captain, the legendary playmaker who’s moved onto Japan’s Vissel Kobe. Xavi and Carles Puyol were the previous captains.

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  

Second captain since 2015, the announcement comes as a foregone conclusion.

Messi is joined by Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, and Sergi Roberto in the captainship. Pique and Busquets were in the quartet with Messi, while Roberto is taking the place of Javier Mascherano.

Barcelona pointed out that this is the first time since 2014-15 that all four captains come from La Masia, Barca’s celebrated academy.

Iniesta makes 1st start as Kobe beats Kashiwa in J-League

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TOKYO (AP) Andres Iniesta made his first start as Vissel Kobe beat Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 in the J-League on Saturday.

Iniesta, who came off the bench in Kobe’s 3-0 loss to Shonan Bellmare a week ago, had a scoring opportunity in the 15th minute when his right-footed shot from the edge of the area went wide.

He created another chance seven minutes later but it was his teammate, Asahi Masuyama, who scored the winner in the 66th as Kobe moved into fourth place on 28 points.

In other matches, forward Shinzo Koroki scored twice as visiting Urawa Reds thrashed league leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4-1.

Hiroshima remains in first place with 41 points, seven ahead of FC Tokyo.

Yusuke Maruhashi scored twice, including an equalizer in the fifth minute of injury time, as Cerezo Osaka earned a 2-2 draw with Vegalta Sendai.

Elsewhere, Sagan Tosu and Jubilo Iwata finished 0-0, while Gamba Osaka and Kashima Antlers ended 1-1.

Nagoya Grampus vs. Consadole Sapporo, Yokohama F. Marinos vs. Shimizu S Pulse, and Shonan Bellmare vs. Kawasaki Frontale were postponed due to an approaching typhoon.