Former Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski wrestles 350 pound sumo champion Hakuho Sho in Japan

25 Mar

Lukas Podolski spent the international break ‘wrestling’ legendary sumo champion Hakuho Sho in Japan.

The former Arsenal striker, who retired from international duty two years ago, is now plying his trade with J-League side Vissel Kobe.

And clear to immerse himself in Japanese culture as much as possible, Podolski decided to try his hand at the legendary sport.

Podolski is loving life in Japan

Hakuho Sho showed the World Cup winner the ropes by kitting him out in the traditional mawashi (loincloth) worn by wrestlers before stepping onto the doyho to fight.

A 2012 summer signing from boyhood club Cologne, Podolski joined Arsenal and became a fan favourite by scoring 16 times and registering 11 assists in his first season at the Emirates.

Podolski was allowed to move on after falling out of favour with Arsene Wenger, but still managed to win the FA Cup in 2014.

Podolski arrived in Japan in 2017 after spells with Inter Milan and Galatasaray.

The former Arsenal striker grapples with Hakuho Sho
The World Cup winner made sure to wear the traditional loin cloth

Alongside Andres Iniesta and David Villa, the 33-year-old has led Vissel to sixth in table after just four games of the new season.

The striker represented Germany on 130 occasions and made his final appearance against England almost two years ago to the day.

Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta wishes he could have played alongside Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante

1 Nov

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has spoken of his admiration for Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.

The Chelsea midfielder has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of world football.

Kante and Iniesta vie for possession during an international friendly

In 2013, the 27-year-old was playing for Caen in France and arriving to training on a scooter until his mother told him off and convinced him to buy a second-hand Renault.

Just five years later, he is a two-time Premier League winner, FA Cup winner, two-time Ballon d’Or nominee and World Cup holder.

Under new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, the France international has shown attacking attributes many thought he didn’t have to his game as the Italian pushed the diminutive midfielder forward to accommodate his ‘Sarri-ball’ tactics.

For Iniesta, a serial trophy winner during his 16 years with Barcelona, the qualities Kante displays so consistently for club and country are what make him so brilliant, and makes him wish he could have played alongside him.

The France international was reportedly too shy to ask to hold the World Cup he won in the summer

“He’s a player I’d like to have had in my team for many years,” the Vissel Kobe midfielder told RMC Sport.

“He’s not going to come to Japan, but he’s definitely a player I love because of the work he does on the field and the confidence he has in his game.

His mastery makes him the centrepiece of Chelsea and the France national team.”

Such brilliance has inevitably seen Kante linked with lucrative moves across Europe to some of the biggest clubs in the world.

Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly enquired about bringing the midfielder back to his home country, while Iniesta’s former club have also apparently expressed an interest.

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta to feature in new reality TV show following his life in Japan at Vissel Kobe

27 Sep

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta will star in his own reality TV series.

Having left the Spanish side in 2018, he joined Japanese side Vissel Kobe where it is being reported he will earn £22.5m.

Iniesta left Barcelona after 17 years as a professional

The midfielder won eight La Liga titles with Barca, as well as four Champions Leagues, and scored the only goal as Spain beat the Netherlands to win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Called ‘Iniesta TV’, cameras will follow the 34-year-old in his new life.

One of the greatest midfielders of his generation, Iniesta was adored by the Barcelona fans

It has been launched on Rakuten Viki, the Rakuten Group’s global video streaming service which will broadcast the series in English, Spanish and Japanese around the world. Fans can watch content from the Rakuten Viki site on PC and smartphones, as well as through Rakuten Viki apps on iOS and Android devices, and on TVs through apps on Roku, Apple TV, fireTV, androidTV and chromecast.

Supporters, though, will be asked to subscribe to “Viki Pass,” a premium subscription plan that allows access without advertising.

Iniesta left Barcelona for Japanese club Vissel Kobe in at the end of last season

Speaking about the series, Iniests said: “You can watch how I live in Japan and how I adapt to my new club, as well as interviews and conversations with great sports stars.
“We are going to organise some great contests. I will show you my ball skills as well as some ways to improve your football.”