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Kakitani leaves Cerezo for Basel

Kyodo

Japan and Cerezo Osaka striker Yoichiro Kakitani will move to Swiss club Basel on July 16, his J. League first-division club announced Monday.

“I thought this through carefully, while dealing with bad memories of the World Cup, and I have decided to challenge myself with a move to Basel,” Kakitani said in a statement released by Cerezo.

Kakitani, who was developed by Cerezo, was third in the league in scoring with 21 goals last year, when he made his Japan debut in July. He played in two games for Japan at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, where the Samurai Blue earned one point from three matches and exited at the group stage.

Basel, where former Japan international Koji Nakata played, has won the Swiss Super League the past five seasons. Three Basel players were on Switzerland’s team that reached the round of 16 in Brazil. The move will give Kakitani, who has just one J. League goal this season, an opportunity for playing time at a club that will compete in next season’s Champions League.

Cerezo will hold a ceremony for Kakitani following their July 15 home game against Kawasaki Frontale.