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Transfers: Masatoshi Ishida returns to Daejeon Hana Citizen

Daejeon Hana Citizen have re-signed Masatoshi Ishida on a permanent deal from Jubilo Iwata, just five months after he left the club.
Speaking via the club's official channels, the man known as 'Masa' in K League said: "I'm pleased to be able to meet the Daejeon fans again. I wasn't able to properly say goodbye when I left in the winter and I left because of my own personal greed so I feel sorry about that. Coming back, I don't have personal goals or greed. Only for the club to stay up and to be a better Daejeon and being on a bigger stage is my dream and objective. We will fight and overcome it together."

Masa first signed for Daejeon on loan in the summer of 2021 from Gangwon FC. He scored nine goals and assisted two in 17 appearances including the playoffs before signing on a permanent deal in 2022. In Daejeon's promotion season, Masa bagged 10 and assisted five in 34 and then managed six goals and three assists in 25 K League 1 appearances last season, Daejeon's first in the top flight for eight years.

'Symbol of Daejeon's Romance'

Masa's return represents new hope, enthusiasm, and love for the club after what has been a testing first half of the campaign. It punctuates Daejeon's statement signings in the transfer market having also brought in Kim Moon-hwan and Cheon Seong-hoon. He is already a cult hero, a fan favourite but if he is able to return and help fire the club to safety then legend status would be a mere formality.

Masa became an instant fan favourite at Daejeon in 2021. As well as his displays on the pitch and impressive goal return for a player who isn't an out-and-out striker, the fans fell in love with him because of how he carried himself. He conducted television interviews in Korean and referred to himself as a 'loser' in football terms and that he was putting his (footballing) life on the line to try and help Daejeon win promotion. 

Masa left Daejeon to have a crack at Europe and a deal was agreed with a Greek club but a change of manager meant it fell through. Having a go at J1 was his next best option, a league he felt he had failed in before moving to K League with Ansan Greeners in 2019. But game time was extremely limited, even after returning to full fitness. It has been reported that Masa wasn't a signing that the manager there had particularly wanted.

Daejeon had kept tabs on him throughout the last five months and had checked in with him. He was also a player that Hwang Sun-hong wanted four years ago when he was first appointed at Daejeon in 2020. But by the time the club had officially been re-founded and staff were appointed, Masa had already agreed to go to Suwon FC.

Daejeon sit 11th in K League 1, two points above Jeonbuk and two points behind both Incheon and Daegu in ninth and tenth respective. Up next is Suwon FC at home this Saturday.


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