Ryutaro Karube during practice with Suphanburi FC in September 2020. Photo courtesy of Ryutaro Karube’s Facebook.
Saigon FC announced Monday they had recruited Japanese midfielder Ryutaro Karube as the club’s final foreign signee for 2021 V. League 1.
He already arrived in Saigon and is undergoing 14-day quarantine.
The 28-year-old is not a strange face to Vietnamese football fans. The 1.88-meter-tall footballer played for Thanh Hoa FC in 2018 and scored two goals during AFC Cup the same year.
After his departure from Thanh Hoa, he joined Chainat Hornbill FC of Thai League 2. He then wore Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur FC jersey in 2019 before returning to Chainat Hornbill.
Before rejoining the local football scene, he played for Suphanburi FC of Thai League 1, where he appeared in seven games without any goal.
Ryutaro Karube is the third Japanese footballer recruited by Saigon FC. It had signed striker Takasaki Hiroyuri and midfielder Daisuke Matsui earlier this month. The club also scored South Korean midfielder Woo Sang-ho and Brazilian defender Thiago Melo.
Currently, the V. League only allows clubs to use up to three foreign talents, so it is certain some of them will not be registered to participate in the 2021 season, scheduled to commence on January 16 next year.
Saigon were the dark horse in 2020 and went unbeaten to top the table after the first leg. But they failed to maintain their form in the second leg and finished third.
However, their third place finish helped them qualify for the AFC Cup group stage.