TOYOTA, AICHI PREF. – Marcus Tulio Tanaka signed a contract through next January with his old club Nagoya Grampus on Sunday, promising to give his utmost to rescue the side from relegation to the J. League’s second division.
The 35-year-old was let go by new manager Takafumi Ogura before the current season, but a 17-game winless run saw Ogura fired on Tuesday, when his successor Bosko Djurovski and club president Kazumasa Kume asked former Japan international Tulio to return.
Nagoya put in a much-improved performance on Saturday but a last-minute equalizer by FC Tokyo in a 1-1 home draw sees the team seven points from safety with seven games to go.
“I’ll try to overcome this obstacle and restore Grampus’ former strength,” Tulio told a press conference before joining his teammates in training.
“I’m not Superman but I’ll not give up even for a moment as long as there’s a possibility. I’d like to give confidence back to everyone.”
Grampus are one of three original 10 J. League teams that have yet to experience a drop to J2. The other two are Kashima Antlers and Yokohama Marinos (now Yokohama F. Marinos).
The Brazil-born Tulio, capped 43 times by Japan with eight goals, played for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Mito Hollyhock and Urawa Reds before joining Grampus in 2010, when he helped his new team to its first top-flight title.