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Shinji Okazaki, 37, to retire at the end of the season

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Shinji Okazaki
Shinji Okazaki, 37, to retire at the end of the season. Photo/ SuperSport.
  • Former Leicester City forward Shinji Okazaki is set to retire from professional football at the end of the 2023-24 season
  • Okazaki has struggled with injuries over the course of his career and it’s among the reasons why he has decided to hang his boots

Former Leicester City forward Shinji Okazaki is set to retire from professional football at the end of the 2023-24 season. Okazaki was part of the Foxes’ squad that defied all odds to win the English Premier League title in 2016 under Claudio Ranieri.

The Japanese spent four years with Leicester, who are now playing in the Championship, before leaving in 2019 at the end of his contract. He had a spell at La Liga club Malaga and then continued with his football journey elsewhere before finally arriving at Belgian side Sint-Truiden where he is currently playing.

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Shinji Okazaki reacts during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Birmingham City and Leicester City at St Andrews (stadium) in August 2015 in Birmingham, England. Photo/ Daily Mail.

Okazaki has struggled with injuries over the course of his career and it’s among the reasons why he has decided to hang his boots.

“I have decided to retire after this season. I feel that it was fate that I came to this club and that I decided to retire at this club. I hope we can talk about retirement again once the season is over. I will do my best to contribute to the team while aiming to return until the end of the season.” Shinji Okazaki wrote on Instagram on Monday, February 26, as per The mirror.

Okazaki’s Early Years 

Shinji Okazaki began his professional football journey back in Japan at Shimizu S-Pulse in 2005. He made his debut in December that year as a substitute in a match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

On 15 April 2007, Okazaki scored his first senior goal against Kawasaki Frontale and would go on to record three goals in 13 matches. During the 2008 J. League season, he scored ten goals from 27 matches. After establishing himself as a starter at the club, he continued with his impressive goalscoring form and got the attention of European clubs.

Shinji Okazaki

Shinji Okazaki during his time with VfB Stuttgart. Photo/ Transfermarkt.

During the 2011 January transfer window, Shinji Okazaki signed with Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart. The Japanese striker made his debut for Stuttgart the same night in a Europa League match. He was part of Stuttgart’s squad that lost in the final of the DFB-Pokal in 2013. He left the club that summer and signed with Mainz 05.

By the time Okazaki was leaving Mainz to sign with English club Leicester City, he had established himself as one of the best strikers in Bundesliga history.

Premier League Winner In His First Season With Leicester

Okazaki joined Leicester City in the summer of 2015 and scored his first goal a week after making his Premier League debut. The Japanese forward scored the winning goal against Everton in December to ensure the Foxes ended the year on top of the table.

Leicester made history at the end of the 2015-16 season by winning the English Premier League title and Okazaki was awarded the Asian International Player of the Year in December 2016 award for his performance that season.

Shinji Okazaki

Japan’s Shinji Okazaki won the English Premier League title with Leicester City in his first season at the club. Photo/ France 24.

His next seasons with the Foxes were not fruitful but he will be remembered for being one of the stars, alongside N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy.

Shinji Okazaki Career After Leicester

Okazaki was released by Leicester at the end of the 2018-19 season and joined Malaga on a one-year deal in the summer of 2019. His spell with Malaga was shortlived as the deal was cancelled 34 days later.

The Japanese forward then joined Huesca as a free agent and spent two years at the club before moving to Cartagena. On 19 August 2022, he signed with Belgian club Sint-Truiden.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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