Japan midfielder Shinji Ono, who has returned to J. League first division club Urawa Reds after leaving Dutch club Feyenoord, formally signed Thursday.

News photoJapan midfielder Shinji Ono shakes hands with Urawa Reds head manager Buchwald after signing with the J. League club.

“Part of me is sad that I won’t be playing overseas anymore, but I also want to take this to heart as a new challenge for me to take a step forward,” said Ono, who put pen to paper at a press conference joined by Urawa president Motoaki Inukai and about 150 reporters.

“I’ve played for the past four and a half years with Feyenoord but I knew I had to change my mind-set in order to move forward,” he added.

Ono, 26, who played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, helped Feyenoord win the UEFA Cup in his first season with the Dutch first-division outfit.

But his career has been plagued by injuries. Most recently, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot in June and a toe injury in October. He played a regular season game late last year for the first time in about three months.

Feyenoord accepted a bid from Urawa to regain Ono’s services in mid-December, a move that angered the player, who was kept in the dark about the transfer.

Ono was keen to continue playing in Europe and English premier league Bolton Wanderers held talks with his agent, but a deal never materialized.

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