Uchida returns to Kashima Antlers
Tokyo: Japan defender Atsuto Uchida is rejoining Kashima Antlers after a seven-year spell in Germany, the J.League club said on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old fan favourite joined Bundesliga side Schalke in 2010 before moving to second-tier Union Berlin last summer.
Uchida, who represented his country at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and has won 74 caps, is set to join his new teammates next week as he looks to win a place in the national side for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia this year.
"Ever since joining Schalke I've always wanted to play for Kashima again," Uchida said in a statement.
"I think I know what sort of behaviour and attitude to bring to a club with such a rich tradition," added the player, who began his career at Kashima in 2006 and helped them win three successive J.League titles from 2007 to 2009.
Kashima will be counting on Uchida to power them to the J.League crown after missing out on a record ninth title last season.
They finished as runners-up to Kawasaki Frontale and will represent Japan in the AFC Asian Champions League 2018.