Western Sydney Wanderers favorite Shinji Ono will return home to Japan at the end of the season, the club announced Thursday.
After two stellar years in Australia, playmaker Ono will link up with J-League division two side Consadole Sapporo in June to help it chase promotion.
"Having spent two years away from his wife and two young children who have remained in Japan, Shinji has expressed his desire to see out his career in his home country to be closer to his young family," a club statement said.
Ono, who played 56 times for Japan and appeared in three World Cups, was the Wanderers' inaugural marquee player.
"Shinji is the ultimate professional on and off the field and the ultimate gentleman," said Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman. "He will leave us with long lasting memories of his time with our club."
The 34-year-old is committed to the Wanderers until the end of his contract in May this year.
He will help lead the club in its 2014 Asian Champions League debut and potentially a second Hyundai A-League finals series.
"Shinji Ono will forever be remembered in our club folklore," Gorman added. "We wish him every success in his return to his homeland and thank him for his incredible contribution to our club's birth and journey thus far."© (c) 2014 AFP