• Kyodo

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Former Japan international Junya Tanaka will return to Kashiwa Reysol, his Portuguese club Sporting announced on Monday.

Tanaka, who was limited to just three league appearances this season, will be on loan to Kashiwa until July 2017, Sporting said. The deal includes an option to purchase the left-footed striker, who transferred to Sporting from Reysol in June 2014.

“I really liked Portugal where I’ve enjoyed the food and weather,” the 28-year-old Tanaka said on Sporting’s official website. “But I wanted to play more and it had become difficult to do that.

“I have to get my game back and I’m returning to Japan out of necessity.”

Kashiwa, under new manager Milton Mendes, opens the J. League season on Feb. 27 at home against Urawa Reds. Reysol finished 11th last year.

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