• Kyodo

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Sanfrecce Hiroshima defender Tsukasa Shiotani will join United Arab Emirates powerhouse Al Ain, the J. League team announced Thursday.

Capped twice at the senior international level, the 28-year-old, who was one of three overage players on the Japan squad at last summer’s Rio Olympics, joins 2003 Asian Champions League winner Al Ain at a time when Hiroshima is languishing in the J1 relegation zone.

“I put serious thought into this move as it comes at a time when our club is struggling. But I reached the decision thinking I wouldn’t want to have any regrets in my soccer career,” Shiotani said in a statement.

“My five years with Sanfrecce Hiroshima are my treasure, my pride and my greatest memories. I believe Sanfrecce are capable of becoming stronger, and I will continue to cheer for them even though I will be leaving. Thank you for your support over the years.”

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