‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Shinji Ono is returning to his homeland after agreeing a move to J-League club Urawa Red Diamonds on a three-year deal. The midfielder did have talks with English outfit Bolton Wanderers, but was unable to strike a deal. That means that Ono will jet out to Japan Saturday to rejoin the club he played for in 1997-2001. Ono played in Rotterdam for four and a half years.
Shinji Ono is happy that the decision has been made after much speculation about his future, although he is a little sad to leave Feyenoord and Rotterdam. ‘It is very nice to return to Urawa Reds, the club I grew up at. But on the other hand I think it is a great pity that I will not be able to play for Feyenoord again. I would have liked to end my time in Rotterdam with a prize rather than with a period full of injuries. That has not been possible, but at the end of the day I will have some great memories. I am grateful to the club and the supporters for a wonderful time.’
‘We have great admiration for what Shinji has meant to Feyenoord and also for his attitude recently in a season in which he has had to deal with a lot of physical setbacks,’ says Chris Woerts. ‘We are happy for him that he can return to his old club and we wish him every success. Shinji knows that he will always be welcome at De Kuip.’
2002 was the highpoint for the player as Ono established himself in the first team, helped Feyenoord take the Uefa Cup and had a hand in piloting Japan through to the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Ono fast became a regular in the Feyenoord side, playing 30, 29, 24 and 25 league games in his first four seasons. But as the injuries piled up and the debilitating flying schedule between Europe and the Far East due to international commitments began to take its toll, the player started missing more and more games.
Shinji Ono has played just four times this season due to a foot injury after breaking his metatarsal. The original injury healed fully but the midfielder became increasingly troubled by the screw that was inserted to repair the break. That led to surgery, and the Japanese was only declared fit again at the end of last month. His comeback game against Willem II on 29 December has now turned out to be his last for the club.