V-League's top striker signs contract to play in Japan

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Le Cong Vinh, Vietnam's best striker, has signed a five-month contract to play for Japan's second-flight club Consadole Sapporo starting this August.

Vinh leads the top-flight V-League in scoring this season with 14 goals.

Vinh said the Japanese club expects him to contribute immediately.

"I played in Portugal [Leixoes] a few years ago and now I am ready to face another challenge. I know it is very hard to play in a foreign country; but I hope I will be the first Vietnamese footballer to play in the country with the best football of the continent," said Vinh.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger suggested Vietnam should learn from Japan during his stay in Vietnam for a friendly match last week. He said Japan established its J-League in 1991 and it won a berth at the World Cup in 1998.

Speaking to Thanh Nien in Nghe An Province on Monday, Consadole Sapporo chairman Nono Mura said, "Cong Vinh has been playing impressively for SLNA and he is the kind of player we need now.

"I believe Vinh will be able to make use of his current good form in the intense football environment of Japan. Vinh will get on with new teammates and adapt to a new style of play and a new culture."

Vinh will be paid US$5,000 a month plus other allowances while SLNA will receive VND1.5 billiion ($70,700) as part of the transaction.

Consadole Sapporo's coach Keiichi Zaizen expects Vinh to help the club ascend to Japan's top-flight J-League 1 next year.

Vinh leaves for Japan on August 1.


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