At 39, former Japan captain Hasebe extends Frankfurt career

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Former Japan captain Makoto Hasebe is not done yet.

The veteran defender has extended his contract at Eintracht Frankfurt by another season, meaning he plans to keep playing until he's 40.

Frankfurt said Tuesday that the 39-year-old Hasebe has a new playing contract with the club that expires in June 2024, giving him a chance to become the oldest player to represent the club in the Bundesliga. He has an overall contract with the club until 2027 and is expected to take on a coaching role whenever he finally decides to quit as a player.

“Makoto is the only professional player who can decide for himself whether to extend his contract,” Frankfurt sporting director Markus Krösche said. “With his attitude, discipline and football ability, he is not only a complete role model in our team but remains an asset to our game.”

Hasebe has made 16 appearances across all competitions for Frankfurt this season — 12 of those as a starter.

In total he has played 368 Bundesliga games for the club since joining from Nuremberg in 2013. He previously played for Wolfsburg and J-League club Urawa Red Diamonds.

“I want to be a role model for our young players and I want to lead by example,” Hasebe said. “Frankfurt has become my home and Eintracht is my club. That’s why I’m already looking forward to being part of this club after my playing career.”

Hasebe represented Japan 114 times before retiring after the 2018 World Cup.

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The Associated Press