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Uchida leaves Germany to return to Kashima

HONG KONG- Former J-League champions Kashima Antlers have announced the signing of Japan international defender Atsushi Uchida from German second division side Union Berlin.

Uchida, who joined the second division side in the summer after seven seasons with Bundesliga side Schalke, terminated his one-year contract with Union and will link up with Kashima, the club said in a statement.

The 29-year-old started his professional career with Kashima before moving to Germany in 2010 and has also represented Japan 74 times, including at the World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010 and in Brazil four years later.

“Ever since I moved to Schalke in 2010 there was always a part of me that wanted to play for Kashima again, and I’ve been rooting for the Antlers in Germany,” Uchida said.

“I believe I know how to behave as a player from a club that embraces tradition and what kind of attitude to bring to the game. I’ll give my best effort to help Kashima under our boss Go Oiwa, who was previously my teammate.”

Kashima missed out on a record ninth league title last season when they finished as runners-up to Kawasaki Frontale and will represent Japan in the 2018 Asian Champions League.

(Michael Church)