Cerezo returnee Kiyotake expected to miss J.League opener

Cerezo Osaka midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake’s highly-awaited return to the J.League will be delayed for at least a week, according to local media.

The Samurai Blue midfielder returned to the J1 club this winter after his four and a half seasons in Europe concluded with a disappointed run for Sevilla last fall.

But after experiencing discomfort in his right thigh, the 27-year-old is expected to be absent from the squad when Cerezo host Jubilo Iwata in Saturday’s season opener.

“He’s not at 100 percent,” manager Yoon Jong-hwan told Nikkan. “The fans want to see him play so we thought about starting him (on the bench), but in his current condition we’ll have to leave him out for the opener.”

Kiyotake first played for Cerezo between 2010 and 2012, making his way into the starting following the departure of former teammate Shinji Kagawa for Borussia Dortmund.