• Kyodo

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Japan center back Naomichi Ueda joined Nimes on a permanent deal Friday after spending the last half of the season on loan at the French first-division club from Cercle Brugge.

Nimes, relegated after finishing 19th in the 20-team Ligue 1 this season, exercised their option to buy the 26-year-old defender who made nine league appearances.

The Kumamoto native was part of the 2018 World Cup squad for Japan while playing for Kashima Antlers and joined Cercle Brugge in the Belgian top-flight that summer.

The 186-centimeter defender scored his first goal for Japan during a 1-0 friendly win over Ivory Coast in October.

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