TOKYO • Shinji Kagawa, one of Japan's most successful footballing exports, on Tuesday made a passionate plea for a transfer to Spain as he struggles with German outfit Borussia Dortmund.
The midfielder was a key part of the Dortmund side who won back-to-back Bundesliga titles at the start of the decade but has found himself unable to get regular first-team football under Lucian Favre.
The 29-year-old told Nikkan Sports: "Over the past two to three years, I have always been thinking about what I can do to go to Spain.
"I cannot end my career as a football player without going to Spain. I absolutely want to achieve that."
The Japan international had a brief spell at Manchester United when he joined in 2012, but also found himself on the fringes before returning to Dortmund in 2014 hoping to rebuild his confidence.
But injuries and an influx of younger talent have left him out of favour at the German side, who sit atop the Bundesliga table unbeaten with nine wins out of 12.
Dortmund will host Club Bruges in the Champions League today, needing only a point to advance to the knockout stages. "I want to find a solution to this situation. One is to change teams," Kagawa added.
"I have this growing sense of wishing to change my environment and take on new challenges.
"I have nothing to lose. I am confident that I can shine in the next stage of my career."
Meanwhile, a German man who launched a shrapnel bomb attack on Dortmund's team bus last year, wounding two people, was sentenced to 14 years in jail yesterday.
Sergej Wenergold had stayed in the same hotel as the team when he remotely triggered the bomb attack on April 11 as the bus was heading for a Champions League match against Monaco.
He had hoped to profit financially from the attack by betting on an anticipated plunge in the club's stock market value, say prosecutors.