Tokyo, April 18th, 2019 - Rakuten, Inc. and FC Barcelona today announced the “FC Barcelona Japan Tour 2019 Presented by Rakuten,” which will see the legendary Club visit Japan in July to compete against J.League J1 club Vissel Kobe and English Premier League club Chelsea FC in the “Rakuten Cup Supported by Scalp-D” tournament.
The FC Barcelona Japan Tour 2019 Presented by Rakuten will be the club’s first tour to Asia since 2013 and its first visit to Japan since 2015. During the tour, FC Barcelona will play Chelsea FC on July 23 at Saitama Stadium 2002 in the Greater Tokyo Area, and Vissel Kobe on July 27 at Noevir Stadium Kobe, the home ground of Vissel Kobe. The matches will aim to pitch legendary Barca players against some of the Premier League’s top talent at Chelsea FC, as well as former Barça teammates Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and new signing Sergi Samper of Vissel Kobe.
Information on the tour can be found on the official tour websites. Fans can also pre-register interest in the games and tickets for the games will go on sale at a later date.
The announcement of the Rakuten Cup was made at a press conference today in Tokyo by Rakuten Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani and Technical Secretary and former player of FC Barcelona, Éric Abidal. Abidal joined Barça in the 2007-08 season and in the following year he was a key part of the team that achieved the first treble in the club's history, and featured in the season in which the club won an unforgettable six trophies in 2009.
“As partners of FC Barcelona and as presenters of this tournament, we are incredibly proud to be able to bring these two legendary clubs to Japan,” said Mickey Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc. “The tournament will give Vissel Kobe the chance to play against FC Barcelona, one of the leading clubs in European soccer, and fans in Japan the opportunity to see some of the world’s top soccer clubs play in the country. We hope the games will raise the level and profile of the J.League globally, and we are excited about inspiring the next generation of soccer talent in Japan.”
Éric Abidal of FC Barcelona said, “Our partnership with Rakuten is one based on shared values of optimism, empowerment, respect and teamwork. We say that we are ‘mes que un club,’ ‘more than a Club,’ and this is more than just a partnership. This summer Rakuten will help us to bring the FC Barcelona First Team to Japan and play two special games, against Chelsea FC and Vissel Kobe. We’ve had some fantastic battles against Chelsea in recent years and we’re looking forward to playing them again in Tokyo. As for Vissel, the match will be very special for us as there are three players who are now in Kobe, but who have been part of the Barça family: Sergi Samper, David Villa and Andres Iniesta”. We’re excited to bring our unique style of play to our fanbase in Japan.
Both matches are planned to be distributed in Japan and around the world by Rakuten and other regional partners. Ticket presales via ticket lottery will begin on April 19, and information on the ticket sales will be published on the dedicated Rakuten Cup ticket page on Rakuten Ticket at the following site: http://r-t.jp/rakutencup2019
Rakuten and FC Barcelona’s partnership began in July 2017, when Rakuten became the Main Global Partner and first-ever Global Innovation & Entertainment Partner of FC Barcelona. The partnership is based on shared values of optimism, professionalism and commitment to empowering local communities. Rakuten and FC Barcelona are collaborating on a variety of initiatives leveraging Rakuten’s technologies and broad range of services to provide innovative solutions and services to fans, members and players of the club. Rakuten is also a partner of the Barça Academy, the flagship FC Barcelona soccer school with branches in more than 20 countries around the world, three of which are in Japan. Through the initiative, Rakuten and Barça hope to empower, inspire and fulfill the dreams of young soccer players.
About FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona was founded 119 years ago in 1899 and is unique in many ways. The club is owned by its more than 145,000 members and can boast of being the most successful club in Europe over the last years. Since season 2004/05 they have won four of the Club’s five Champions League titles and nine of their 25 domestic league titles. Due to its very special personality, ‘Barça’ is recognized as being ‘more than a club’. The team’s distinctive style of play is projected around the world by the best players and coaches of their time in combination with club’s famous reliance on homegrown talent.
All of this goes hand in hand with its ongoing ambition to become the most admired, beloved and global sports institution on the planet. This mission is supported by such core principles as humility, effort, ambition, respect and team-work, while the club is also famed for its commitment to society, which is channeled through the FC Barcelona Foundation and its work to educate children through the positive values of sport. Such unstoppable growth in recent years has led to a global reach of more than 315 million fans and made FC Barcelona a world leader on social media.
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1.2 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 17,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.