Podol­ski to join Ja­pan’s Vis­sel Kobe

New Straits Times - - Sport -

TOKYO: World Cup win­ning Ger­man striker Lukas Podol­ski an­nounced he will be join­ing Ja­panese club Vis­sel Kobe from Galatasaray at the end of the Turk­ish sea­son.

The 31year-old for­mer Bay­ern Mu­nich and Arse­nal for­ward brought down the cur­tain on his 12-year in­ter­na­tional ca­reer last Au­gust, hav­ing played 129 matches and scored 48 goals for Ger­many.

“I can con­firm that at the end of this sea­son I will join Vis­sel Kobe from the J-League in Ja­pan,” Podol­ski wrote on his In­sta­gram page.

“It’s not a de­ci­sion against Galatasaray, it’s a de­ci­sion I made for a new chal­lenge, and I will ex­plain more when the time is right.”

While Chi­nese clubs has been spend­ing huge amounts of money to lure top foot­balling ta­lent to their Su­per League, Podol­ski is a rare high-profile for­eign sign­ing for a J League club.

Vis­sel Kobe, owned by on­line re­tail­ing gi­ant Rakuten, fin­ished run­ners-up in the sec­ond stage of the J League last year but failed to make it to the cham­pi­onship phase.

“We are very ex­cited to have a world-class striker join the Vis­sel Kobe team,” Rakuten co-founder Hiroshi Mik­i­tani said in a news re­lease.

“We have very high ex­pec­ta­tions of Podol­ski’s abil­ity to take the Vis­sel Kobe team to vic­tory in the J League.”

The cur­rent Turk­ish cham­pi­onship cam­paign runs un­til the end of May. The 2017 J League sea­son started last week­end. Reuters

Lukas Podol­ski

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