Soccer-Former Japan forward Okazaki to retire at end of season


Soccer Football - Copa America Brazil 2019 - Group C - Ecuador v Japan - Mineirao Stadium, Belo Horizonte, Brazil - June 24, 2019 Japan's Shinji Okazaki in action REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/ File photo

(Reuters) - Ex-Japan forward Shinji Okazaki, who was part of the Leicester City team that defied the odds to win the Premier League title in 2016, will retire at the end of the season, he said on Monday.

Okazaki joined Leicester in 2015 and was a key player in their title-winning season, making 36 Premier League appearances and scoring five goals.

The 37-year-old was also one of the Japan national team's most prolific players, scoring 50 goals in 119 appearances to sit third on their all-time scoring list.

He represented Japan at three World Cups and scored three goals to power the Samurai Blue to victory in the 2011 Asian Cup.

"I have decided to retire at the end of this season," Okazaki, who now plays for Belgium's Sint-Truiden, said in a post on Instagram.

"I have given my all as a footballer up to now, but when I realised that my body was falling apart I naturally felt I had reached my limits."

(This story has been corrected to say Okazaki's age is 37, not 38, in paragraph 3)

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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