Vissel Kobe's star playmaker Andres Iniesta has been diagnosed with a rupture of the rectus femoris muscle in his right thigh that is expected to take four months to completely heal, the J-League first division side said Wednesday.
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The 36-year-old Spanish midfielder, who suffered the injury in Vissel's round-of-16 win in the AFC Champions League earlier this month, underwent a successful surgery in Barcelona on Tuesday in the presence of a team doctor.
Iniesta scored in Kobe's 2-0 victory over Shanghai SIPG on Dec. 7 that sent the Asian Champions League debutants into the last eight, but he hobbled off in the second half after hurting his right thigh.
He made a late appearance for Vissel in their quarterfinal win against Suwon Samsung Bluewings on Dec. 10 and scored in the penalty shootout, but he clutched his leg as he left the pitch and sat out Kobe's 2-1 semifinal loss to Ulsan Hyundai FC on Dec. 13.
A converted penalty in the final seconds of extra time knocked Vissel out of the tournament and sent Ulsan into the final.
Vissel are currently 12th in the 18-team J1 table with one match remaining this season. The J-League top flight is scheduled to kick off its 2021 season on Feb. 26.