TOKYO - Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo
could snub his country for next month's Asian Cup by choosing
to help his struggling Italian club Cesena instead.
With his side struggling in Serie A, Nagatomo has raised
the possibility of skipping the January 7-29 tournament in Qatar.
"Obviously I always want to play my part for Japan but
(Cesena) are in a difficult situation," the 24-year-old left
back told Friday's Nikkan Sports newspaper.
"It's not a decision I can take alone."
Cesena are currently languishing in 18th place in Italy's
top flight, two off the bottom of the table.
Nagatomo joined Cesena from J-League side FC Tokyo after
this year's World Cup in South Africa and is a regular fixture
for the side, as well as for Japan.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni has flown to Europe to
negotiate the release of his top players and will name his
final 23-man squad by the end of the month.
Most of the Japanese side who reached the last 16 of the
World Cup are expected to play at the Asian Cup, including the
bulk of their Europe-based contingent.
Japan finished fourth at the last Asian Cup in 2007 where
Iraq recorded a stunning victory for the war-torn nation.
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