Japan captain Maya Yoshida completes Schalke switch

 

Maya Yoshida of Japan and Ferjani Sassi of Tunisia compete for the ball during the international friendly match between Japan and Tunisia at Panasonic Stadium Suita on June 14, 2022 in Suita, Osaka, Japan.

Japan captain Maya Yoshida has joined Schalke on a one-year contract from Italy’s Sampdoria, the German first-division club said.

Yoshida, who led the Samurai Blue to 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification earlier this year, has signed for the newly-promoted Bundesliga side after 2½ seasons in Serie A.

“It’s good to know new football,” said Yoshida. “I’m a very curious man so I believe I can learn many new things from new football, a new culture. I’m buzzing.”

The 33-year-old previously spent 7½ in the Premier League with Southampton and is Japan’s fourth-most capped player with 119 appearances. He opened his career with the J. League’s Nagoya Grampus before moving to Holland’s VVV-Venlo in 2010.

A key part of Japan’s 2011 Asian Cup-winning squad, Yoshida has represented his country at two World Cups as well as three Olympic men’s soccer tournaments.

He will become the third Japanese defender to have played for Schalke, replacing 2021-22 loanee Ko Itakura and following in the footsteps of retired Samurai Blue star Atsuto Uchida, who called the club home from 2010 to 2016.

 

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