Cerezo decline to renew Cacau contract

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side on Monday announced the club’s decision to part ways with former Germany international at the conclusion of his contract on June 30.

The former Stuttgart striker’s August 2014 acquisition was a last-ditch effort by the Japanese club to avoid relegation, despite starting the season with Uruguayan legend Diego Forlan and a handful of Samurai Blue stars including Yoichiro Kakitani and Hotaru Yamaguchi.

But despite scoring a respectable five goals in 11 matches, Cacau’s efforts were not enough as Cerezo finished the season in 17th place and were relegated from the J1 League.

The 34-year-old vowed to help the club achieve a quick return to the top flight but has struggled this season with just two goals in 11 appearances.

With Cacau’s departure confirmed and Forlan also expected to leave the club in July once his own contract expires, the Sakura will need to make several important signings in the summer transfer window if they hope to insert themselves into the promotion race.

Cerezo are currently in eighth place with 21 points from 14 matches, four points behind playoff-eligible V-Varen Nagasaki and eight points behind J2 leaders Jubilo Iwata.