Midfielder Hanyu returns to JEF

Midfielder Hanyu returns to JEF

JEF United Chiba on Thursday announced the return of former midfielder Naotake Hanyu to the club after a decade.

The 37-year-old began his professional career with the Fukuda Denshi Arena side in 2002, helping the team win two J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cups and representing Japan at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. 

Hanyu has played for FC Tokyo since 2008 with the exception of a 2013 loan to Ventforet Kofu, and now returns to help the side secure promotion to the top-flight.

“Since I left the club after the 2007 season, JEF have had their own struggles and I’ve turned 37,” he said.

“Not everyone may be happy with this announcement, and when I first received this offer I struggled to answer the question of what I could contribute to the club. 

“In the end, I realised that there could be no better challenge for the end of my career than to help JEF return to the J1 and prove that my heart still belongs to this club.”