• Kyodo News


Striker Naohiro Takahara returned to Japan from Germany on Wednesday eager to make an impact at Urawa Reds and retain his place on the national team under new coach Takeshi Okada. Takahara has agreed to join the Asian champions for a fee of about ¥160 million, and is set to complete formalities on Friday subject to a medical. “I have always tried to play to my strengths to help the team win, whomever I play for. That won’t change because I have changed teams,” Takahara told reporters after arriving at Narita airport. “I have a strong desire and want to stay in good condition and make sure of a place on the national team,” said Takahara, who is scheduled to join Japan’s upcoming training camp in Kagoshima Prefecture. Takahara has returned to Japan to join the country’s most passionately supported club after a disappointing second season with Eintracht Frankfurt. The former Boca Juniors hitman scored 11 league goals in his first season with Frankfurt and in doing so set a record for the highest number of goals in a single season by a Japanese player in European top-flight soccer.

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