Ardija midfielder Watanabe joins Korean club

Ardija midfielder Watanabe joins Korean club

Daigo Watanabe has waved goodbye to newly-promoted Omiya Ardija following his transfer to K-League Challenge side Busan IPark.

The 31-year-old made 34 appearances in their 2015 MEIJI YASUDA J2 League-winning campaign, scoring two goals for the NACK5 Stadium residents.

Watanabe will not feature for his team back in Japan’s top-flight given his transfer to South Korea, however, with the midfielder revealing his gratitude in a farewell message.

“I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart for the support of everyone I’ve met over the last five years, including my teammates, coaches, staff, team officials, club partners,” he said in a statement.

“I also want to thank our fans, who supported us through good times and bad. I’ll always remember you singing my name and the fantastic atmosphere at Ardija.

“I hope that the club can perform well in the J1 and grow even bigger, and that the fans will continue to give their support.”

After falling to Suwon FC in the 2015 K-League promotion-relegation play-offs, Busan IPark will play in the K-League Challenge, the nation’s second division, for the first time in 2016.