Japan Soccer Star Nakamura to Retire after This Season


Tokyo, Oct. 17 (Jiji Press)--Japanese soccer star Shunsuke Nakamura, the former national team member known as a master of free kicks thanks to his precise left-foot delivery, will retire at the end of this season, informed sources said Monday.

Although the 44-year-old veteran midfielder of Yokohama FC had already decided to hang up his boots, he made up his mind on the timing of his retirement when his team won promotion back to the J1 top division of the Japan Professional Football League on Sunday after being relegated to the J2 second division of the J.League a year ago, according to the sources.

A native of Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, Nakamura kicked off his professional career with then Yokohama Marinos, currently Yokohama F. Marinos, in 1997. He moved to play for Italian football club Reggina in 2002.

In 2005, Nakamura joined Scottish club Celtic, where he played brilliantly and paved the way for other Japanese players currently playing for the club. During his time at Celtic, Nakamura became the first Asian player to win the player of the year award in the Scottish league.

Nakamura joined Spanish club Espanyol in 2009 and returned to Japan to join Yokohama F. Marinos the following year. In 2013, he became the first player ever to win the J.League's MVP award a second time.

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