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Former Japan midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara will return to J. League club Kashima Antlers from Italian first-division side Messina after the expiration of his one-year loan deal, Kashima officials said Tuesday. Ogasawara joined Messina after playing in the World Cup finals in Germany last summer but was unable to impress in Serie A, having made just six league appearances and scored one goal. The 28-year-old, whose contract with Messina ran out June 30, is expected to be eligible to play as early as this weekend when Kashima face Sanfrecce Hiroshima in their J. League Nabisco Cup quarterfinal first leg.

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