Attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa, one of Japan’s most successful footballing exports, on Tuesday made a passionate plea for a transfer to Spain as he struggles with German outfit Borussia Dortmund.
Kagawa was a key part of the celebrated Dortmund side that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles at the start of the decade but has found himself unable to get regular first-team football under Lucian Favre.
And the 29-year-old told Nikkan Sports: “Over the past two to three years, I have always been thinking about what I can do to go to Spain.
“I cannot end my career as a football player without going to Spain. I absolutely want to achieve that.”
The Japan international had a brief spell at Old Trafford but also found himself on the fringes so returned to Dortmund in 2014 hoping to rebuild his confidence.
But injuries and an influx of younger talent have left him out of favour at the high-flying west German side, which sits on top of the Bundesliga table unbeaten with nine wins out of 12.
“I want to find a solution to this situation. One is to change teams,” Kagawa said.
“I have this growing sense of wishing to change my environment and take on new challenges,” he said.
“I have nothing to lose. I am confident that I can shine in the next stage of my career,” he said of a possible transfer to Spain, adding that a spell in La Liga would be “the biggest challenge of my career.”