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Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006

Messina sends Japan striker Yanagisawa back to Kashima

MESSINA, Italy (Kyodo) Messina announced Monday it has loaned Japan striker Atsushi Yanagisawa out to his old club Kashima Antlers until the end of June.

The 28-year-old striker returns to the four-time J. League champion after having failed to score a single league goal for Messina since joining the Italian Serie A outfit in the summer of 2004.

"I want him to play in Japan, fight for a place at the World Cup and prove his worth," said Messina chairman Pietro Franz.

"We will hold talks and see what's what after the end of June," he said.

Frustrated at a lack of action at Messina, Yanagisawa had been keen to return to J-League club Kashima to get more playing time in World Cup year.

"I want to make a fresh start, the same as I did when I joined Messina," said Yanagisawa. "Playing in Italy really stimulated me. I gained valuable experience from playing there and I am determined not to let that go to waste."

This season, the first of his three-year full-transfer contract with Messina, Yanagisawa did not start in any of the team's 26 league matches played so far and was limited to seven appearances as a substitute.

Yanagisawa joined Messina on loan in 2004 after an unhappy spell at Sampdoria, where he failed to score a single goal in 18 league and cup matches with the Genoa-based club.

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