Japan captain Hasebe signs with Nuremberg

Kyodo

Japan captain Makoto Hasebe has put pen to paper on a three-year deal and joined Nuremberg from Bundesliga rival Wolfsburg, Nuremberg announced Monday.

The 29-year-old Hasebe signed after completing a medical and now heads back to Japan for the national team’s friendlies against Guatemala in Osaka on Friday and Ghana in Yokohama on Sept. 10.

Hasebe, who joined Wolfsburg from Urawa Reds in January 2008 and helped it win the Bundelsiga title the following year, told local media on Friday that his lack of playing time was the main reason behind his decision to move.

“Obviously I am sad to leave as I have been here a long time,” Hasebe was quoted as saying. “Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga, played in the Champions League and also survived a relegation battle. I have had many experiences here and I am grateful to the team, the staff, the fans, the press and everyone else.

“The competition for regular places in the team at Wolfsburg is tough and I wasn’t always playing. I want to play and in joining Nuremberg I will be able to play in my favored position of defensive midfield.”

Fellow Japanese Hiroshi Kiyotake and Mu Kanazaki also play for Nuremberg.