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Returning Kakitani looks ahead to new season with Cerezo Osaka

Kyodo

Yoichiro Kakitani kicked off his preseason training on Thursday and said he was relishing the prospect of playing again for his boyhood club after rejoining J. League second-division side Cerezo Osaka from Basel on a full transfer.

“I don’t have any particular targets, but I’d like to have the best preparation possible through the camp before the start of the season,” said Kakitani.

“We have the best players to battle through a year and hopefully we can fight together as one,” added the product of Cerezo youth academy.

The 26-year-old Kakitani scored 21 goals in 2013 in J1 and left for Basel in the summer of 2014 after appearing in two games for Japan during the World Cup in Brazil. The skillful forward scored three goals in 14 games last season, but could find the net only once this season in four games.

Kakitani has five goals in 18 outings for Japan, but did not appear in a match last year.