• Kyodo


Japan midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata said Sunday he is looking forward to making a fresh start with promoted Italian first-division club Fiorentina, which announced the acquisition of the 27-year-old the same day.

“I’ve played six years in Italy, but changing teams is always a new experience. Just like the team (that moved up from Serie C to Serie A) I’m starting from scratch and I feel like a rookie,” said Nakata at a press conference at Franchi Stadium.

“Fiorentina is a top-notch team and I think Florence is a wonderful city. I can’t say when the officials first contacted me, but it was done over the phone and this is the way things turned out,” he said.

Nakata, who played for fellow Italian side Bologna on loan in the second half of the 2003-2004 season, is scheduled to undergo a physical Tuesday morning and take part in team practice on Wednesday.

Former Asian Player of the Year Nakata joined Bologna on a loan deal, running from January through June, after spending much of his third season with his parent club Parma warming the bench.

Fiorentina, which returned to the top flight for the upcoming season, is the fifth Italian Serie A club for Nakata.

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