Japan’s Keisuke Honda to join AC Milan

Honda is expected to make his Serie A debut on January 12 at Sassuolo after he joins the club when his CSKA Moscow contract expires in December, Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani announced.

Keisuke Honda and CSKA Moscow bowed out of Champions League play after losing to Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday night. Matej Divizna / Getty Images
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Japan playmaker Keisuke Honda will leave CSKA Moscow to join AC Milan in January, the Serie A club said on Wednesday.

Honda, whose contract at CSKA ends in December, will be a much-needed reinforcement for Milan who are ninth in Serie A, having managed four wins in their first 15 league matches.

“Keisuke Honda will be a Milan player from January 3,” said chief executive Adriano Galliani. “We have already filed the contract, although we’ve been keeping it secret.”

Galliani added that he expected Honda to make his debut at Sassuolo on January 12.

Honda, a CSKA player for four years since moving from Dutch club VVV Venlo and who won a Russian Premier League winners’ medal last season, is central to all of Japan’s attacking plans as they prepare for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

The bleach-blond 27 year old is Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s playmaker, forcing Shinji Kagawa to attack from the left which the Manchester United player has voiced his displeasure at.

Calm and assured in possession, Honda is a great reader of the game and astute at bringing teammates into play, while his dribbling is a hot commodity in a passing-dominated era.

He boasts a strong scoring record thanks mainly to his work at set pieces and was named player of the tournament as Japan won the 2011 Asian Cup.

He played for Japan at the 2010 World Cup, scoring the only goal against Cameroon and also with a magnificent free kick in the 3-1 win over Denmark as his side reached the last 16.