Rakuten Inc on Thursday announced the Rakuten Cup Supported by SCALP-D, an international club soccer tournament in which Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona, J.League J1 club Vissel Kobe and English Premier League club Chelsea FC will compete in matches in Japan. The tournament will be held in July 2019, with matches in Tokyo and Kobe.
The Rakuten Cup will see a match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC on July 23 at Saitama Stadium 2002 in the Greater Tokyo Area, and FC Barcelona and Vissel Kobe on July 27 at Noevir Stadium Kobe, the home ground of Vissel Kobe in western Japan. The matches will aim to pitch 25-time La Liga champions FC Barcelona against 6-time English league champions Chelsea FC, as well as former Barça teammates Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and new signing Sergi Samper of Vissel Kobe.
The Rakuten Cup will be a historic event with world-class soccer clubs FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC playing against each other in Japan.
The Rakuten Cup Supported by SCALP-D will be supported by other marketing and merchandising partners. Information about the Rakuten Cup will be published on the official website of the tournament. 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
The announcement of the Rakuten Cup was made at a press conference in Tokyo joined by Technical Secretary and former player of FC Barcelona, Eric 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.
“We are incredibly proud to bring these two legendary clubs to Japan,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten. “The Rakuten Cup 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 in action. We hope the games will raise the technical level and global profile of Japanese soccer, and we are excited about inspiring the next generation of young talent.”
Abidal 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.”
“We are incredibly excited to announce this match against Barcelona and our participation in the Rakuten Cup, which promises to be an exciting showcase for Japanese football fans,” commented Chelsea FC Chairman Bruce Buck. “It is a huge honour for Chelsea to play in this historic game, and we would like to thank Rakuten for its role as special sponsor of the matches and the J.League for hosting them. I am sure it will be a fantastic experience and we anticipate a great contest against Barcelona, with whom we have enjoyed a healthy and competitive rivalry in recent years.”© Japan Today