Shinji Ono, the affable Japanese star of Western Sydney Wanderers, will leave the club in May at the conclusion of his current contract. The 34-year-old midfielder will return to his home country and play for Consadole Sapporo in J-League 2. While the Wanderers had consistently denied that Ono would be leaving, reports indicated for weeks that the A-League Best XI player would be return to Japan. Today, Western Sydney confirmed the details in a press release.
Wanderers Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman explained the move and Ono's place in the young club's history:
"He is committed to the Wanderers until the end of his contract in May this year which will see him help lead our Club in its 2014 Asian Champions League debut and hopefully a second Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
"Shinji Ono will forever be remembered in our Club folklore and on behalf of the entire Wanderers family we look forward to making the final months of his time in Australia with the Wanderers a memorable one. He will always be a part of the Wanderers family and story as history records it over time. We wish him every success in his return to his homeland and thank him for his incredible contribution to our club's birth and journey thus far."
Ono came on as a second half substitute in Western Sydney's 3-1 loss at Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night. They play again on Saturday at Newcastle Jets.