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Japanese-Italian goalkeeper Fantini set for J.League move

Half-Italian, half-Japanese goalkeeper Akira Fantini will join a J.League club in the coming days, the player revealed in a public Facebook post this weekend.

The 18-year-old has spent the last six years in Italy, where he has progressed through Cesena’s youth system to become the first team’s third goalkeeper.

While Fantini has trained with FC Tokyo and Kashiwa Reysol in previous summers, it is believed that he will join another club as neither of those teams are in need of another player at the position. Although he has earned acclaim from some domestic media for his exploits at the Serie B club, a move to Japan would almost certainly raise the Ichikawa native’s profile ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“The time has come, I am going to Japan,” Fantini wrote on Saturday. “From now on I expect no favors, but I am convinced of my decision and I will never give up. I have a goal in mind and I will do all I can to obtain it.

“One day I will surely return to wonderful [Italy], which has given me unforgettable memories.”