Soccer

Shoya Nakajima, FC Porto finalize five-year deal

KYODO

Japan playmaker Shoya Nakajima is headed back to Portugal’s top flight after agreeing to a five-year contract with FC Porto, the club announced Friday.

The 24-year-old winger played for Portuguese side Portimonense from 2017 until February, when he moved to Qatari first-division club Al-Duhail for a $40 million transfer fee, the most ever paid for a Japanese player.

A skillful dribbler and passer with an eye for goal, Nakajima orchestrates play from the left wing, but can also be deployed on the right or in the center of midfield.

Nakajima said he had long been an admirer of Porto, Portugal’s most decorated club in international competition.

“Porto have been a team I’ve really liked, so I’m very happy to put on the uniform today as a player,” Nakijima said in a video on the club’s website.

A Tokyo Verdy youth product who played in the J. League first-division with FC Tokyo, Nakajima represented Japan on the Under-23 squad at the Rio Olympics.

Porto finished the past season second in the Primeira Liga behind Benfica, while also reaching the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.

According to local media reports, Porto paid �12 million ($13.48 million) to sign Nakajima and take a 50 percent stake in his rights.