Shinji Ono has said that he is hoping for a recall to the Japan team for this year's FIFA World Cup™ after returning to the J-League to play for Shimizu S-Pulse.
The 2002 AFC Player of the Year spent two years in Germany but struggled to get much first-team football with Bochum largely due to injury. Now he says he is determined to do what it takes to play again for Japan, having won his last cap in August 2008.
I'm now 30 years old. I want to prove that you can start your career at 30.
"It will be impossible unless I can play seriously for Shimizu in every game. In so far as I have a chance, I just want to go ahead to realise my dream," Ono told reporters.
The midfielder previously played for Japan in three FIFA World Cups. He won the 2002 UEFA Cup with Dutch side Feyenoord then joined Bochum in January 2008 before returning to Japan this month. "It was the best timing for coming back," he said. "I'm now 30 years old. I want to prove that you can start your career at 30."
Shimizu coach Kenta Hasegawa said: "He has a lot of experience. Of course, our target is to win the title. We are going to challenge with the fresh spirit of a beginner." Shimizu finished the season seventh in the J-League.