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Soccer: Barcelona announce signing of Kashima striker Abe

In this May 8, 2019 file photo, Hiroki Abe, right, of Japan's Kashima Antlers is seen in action during the first half of an Asian Champions League football group-stage match against Johor Darul Ta'zim in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Spanish giants Barcelona on Monday announced the signing of Japanese striker Hiroki Abe on a transfer from J-League first division side Kashima Antlers.

Abe signed a four-year deal after Barcelona paid 1.1 million euros (about 134 million yen) for the 20-year-old, and will start his career as a Barca B player on the Catalan club's reserve team in the Spanish third-tier.

His contract includes a 40 million euro buyout clause which would rise to 100 million euros if he is promoted to the first team.

Abe, who posted a photo of himself holding a Barcelona shirt on Instagram, made his senior international debut at the recent Copa America and is also a likely selection for Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Last month, Barcelona's bitter rivals Real Madrid signed Japanese teenager Takefusa Kubo, nicknamed the "Japanese Messi," from FC Tokyo.

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