Antlers star Kanazaki returns to Portimonense

Antlers star Kanazaki returns to Portimonense

Midfielder Mu Kanazaki is hopeful of playing for Kashima Antlers again one day, after returning to his parent club of Portimonense SC on Monday.

The 26-year-old spent a season and a half at the Portuguese second-division club, scoring 16 goals in 47 appearances before being loaned to Antlers in early 2015. 

Kanazaki quickly re-established himself in his first J.League campaign since 2012, scoring nine league goals and five more in the team’s triumphant Yamazaki Nabisco Cup-winning campaign.

The former Nagoya Grampus and Oita Trinita player also gained the attention of Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic, earning his first senior call-up since 2010 and an appearance in last November’s FIFA 2018 World Cup-qualifying win against Singapore.

“It’s been an honour to play for Kashima Antlers,” Kanazaki said following the announcement. “It was a terrific feeling to play in front of such great supporters and win a title with this squad.

“Now I want to continue on my path, but I hope that one day I’ll have an opportunity to return to Kashima Stadium.”

Kanazaki will rejoin a Portimonense side who are currently in sixth place in the Segunda Liga with 42 points, just one point off securing promotion to the Portuguese Primeira Liga.