Mexico international Julian Araujo made his long-awaited Barcelona debut in a 2-0 friendly win over Vissel Kobe in Tokyo on Tuesday as Andres Iniesta played his final game for the Japanese club.

Araujo, 21, joined Barca from LA Galaxy for a fee rising to €4 million earlier this year but has not been able to play competitively because the deal missed January’s registration deadline by 18 seconds.

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However, after four months training with the first team, he was able to make his first Barca appearance at the Japan National Stadium as first half goals from Franck Kessie and Eric Garcia downed Vissel Kobe.

Araujo, who has been capped six times by Mexico having previously represented the United States, played the first half at right-back and the second period on the left side of defence.

Sources have told ESPN that Barca plan for Araujo to continue with the first team in preseason when they tour the U.S, before a decision is made on how his development will be best-served next season.

Barca coach Xavi Hernandez also handed debuts to several youngsters in the friendly which took place less than 48 hours after the LaLiga champions ended their domestic campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Celta Vigo.

Pau Prim and Dani Rodriguez were involved from the start, while Marc Giui, Hector Fort and Unai Hernandez all came off the bench in the second half.

Both Barca goals were made by the impressive Pablo Torre, who produced a brilliant defence-splitting pass to create the opener for Kessie in the 16th minute before Garcia headed in Torre’s corner three minutes later.

J-League leaders Vissel Kobe had chances to get back into the game but were denied by Inaki Pena in the Barca goal, who made a fine save from Lincoln before displaying quick reflexes to make a double stop from Koya Yuruki.

The game marked the second occasion that the ex-Barca midfielder Iniesta has faced off against his former club after leaving the Spotify Camp Nou in 2018 — 22 years after joining the youth academy as a 12-year-old.

The midfielder was reunited with his former teammate Xavi before the game and said goodbye to Vissel Kobe after he announced in May he will leave the club, ending his five-year spell in Japan.

Iniesta, 39, lost his place in the team this year and says he still feels capable of playing regular football, with sources telling ESPN he has received interest from Major League Soccer, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai and is open to considering offers.

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Vissel Kobe vs. Barcelona – Football Match Report – June 6, 2023