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Soccer: Ex-Japan forward Tanaka to retire at end of J2 season

Tatsuya Tanaka. (Photo courtesy of J-League/Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Former Japan forward Tatsuya Tanaka, who helped Urawa Reds capture multiple titles in the 2000s, will retire following the end of the season with Albirex Niigata, the J-League second-division club said Saturday.

    Known for his speed with the ball at his feet, Tanaka joined Reds in 2001 and became a mainstay of the Saitama Prefecture club, winning a league championship, two Emperor's Cup and the Asian Champions League during his 12 seasons there.

    He moved to then first-division Niigata in 2013.

    Representing Japan at the 2004 Athens Olympics, he went on to play for the senior national team, scoring three goals in 16 games for the Samurai Blue.

    The 39-year-old Tanaka tallied 66 goals in 333 J1 games, with another three goals from his 55 J2 appearances to date.

    "My 12 years with Urawa and nine years in Niigata have been like a dream, thanks to the many managers who've helped me grow," Tanaka said in a statement through Albirex.

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