• Kyodo

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Former Japan captain Makoto Hasebe has signed a one-year contract extension with Eintracht Frankurt that will take him through the 2021-22 German top-flight season, the club announced Monday.

Frankfurt’s joint longest-serving player, the 37-year-old Hasebe remains a key figure at Deutsche Bank Park in his seventh season with the Eagles, who are currently fourth in the Bundesliga.

The 2018 Asian International Player of the Year said he had considered hanging up his boots before deciding to sign on for another year.

“Almost a year ago, I thought that I would retire this coming summer. But this season has shown that I’m still in good shape, which is why I changed my mind. I’m delighted to be playing for Eintracht for another year,” Hasebe said in an interview on the club’s official site.

The Shizuoka Prefecture native, who has played more Bundesliga games than any other Asian player, transferred to Wolfsburg from Urawa Reds in the J. League’s first division in 2008. Following a stint with Nuremburg, he made the move to Frankfurt in the summer of 2014.

The longtime Japan skipper retired from international duties after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, his third edition of the tournament, where he led the Samurai Blue to the round of 16.

Having made his reputation as a defensive midfielder, Hasebe later transitioned to center back. But he has seen plenty of action back in a holding midfield role this season for Frankfurt, while also regularly donning the captain’s armband.

Eintracht, which has also received a big contribution this season from Japan attacker Daichi Kamada, is currently in position for a Champions League berth, but Hasebe said the team must stay focused in the home stretch of the campaign.

“Obviously the Champions League is a big dream, but we need to keep our feet on the ground,” he said.

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