It was announced today that veteran defender Kosuke Kitani will retire at the end of the season, after 14 years as a pro.

His career has spanned nearly a decade and a half, with spells at Omiya Ardija, Vegalta Sendai and Sagan Tosu before climaxing here in Gifu.

Kitani arrived in Gifu in the summer of 2013 and almost immediately formed an important partnership with Tatsuya Arai and his experience was essential in keeping Gifu in the J.League. A tall, imposing defender, he has found first team opportunities hard to come by this year with arrival of Masanori Abe and the usage of Henik and/or Hideyuki Nakamura the main reasons.

In his statement to the club, Kitani said:

  • Thank you to the fans of Omiya Ardija, Vegalta Sendai, Sagan Tosu and of course FC Gifu. I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me throughout my career. For the remainder of the season, I will continue give everything I have to the team, and for the supporters.

This is what I’ll remember about Kitani – an absolute professional. And also his header against Vissel Kobe last year. He thumped the Gifu crest on his shirt….a small gesture but one that shows how much Gifu meant to him

Thank you Kosuke – and please enjoy your rest!! #kitani35

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木谷さん。。。本当にありがとうございました!

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