Soccer

Shinji Okazaki to part ways with Leicester at end of season, manager Brendan Rodgers says

Kyodo

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers said Thursday forward Shinji Okazaki will part ways with the Premier League club at the end of the season, according to reports in British media.

Okazaki, a member of Japan’s past three World Cup squads, joined Leicester from German side Mainz in 2015 but has made just 20 appearances for Leicester City this season.

“He leaves a champion, he leaves as a legend in the club’s history,” Rodgers said at a news conference on Thursday.

The 33-year-old had initially eyed a transfer to another Premier League club in January but confirmed he would stay at Leicester City until his contract expires at the end of the season after a move failed to eventuate.

A premiership winner with the Foxes in 2016, Okazaki previously said he was willing to make a move if it would improve his chance of making the Japan squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

He was left out of Hajime Moriyasu’s team for this year’s Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates and a pair of international friendlies against Bolivia and Colombia in March.

Okazaki has played in 136 matches for Leicester City, scoring 19 goals. The club has two premiership matches left to play this season and currently sits in eighth on the league table.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5