Western Sydney Wanderers will embark on a pre-season tour of Japan and China in September, taking marquee star Shinjo Ono to face his former club.
The Wanderers will tackle Ono's previous team Shimizu S-Pulse in Shizuoka on September 4 before taking on Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou G&F four days later.
They will then return to Japan for a clash with Tokyo Verdy on September 12. The Wanderers' cross-city rivals Sydney FC have already embarked on a similar enterprise, holding training camps and staging several friendlies in Italy to cash in on the profile of their veteran forward Alessandro Del Piero, as well as playing a match in Japan against Sagan Tosu.
While undoubtedly popular among Japanese supporters following his exploits with the national team, it is unlikely Ono's return home will command the same extraordinary level of interest as that generated by Juventus icon and World Cup-winner Del Piero.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to take a true superstar of Japanese football back to play against his old club Shimizu S-Pulse which is sure to delight his legion of fans," Wanderers chairman Lyall Gorman said in a statement.
"However this trip is about more than just one player – this trip will connect the Wanderers in Asia and expose the Wanderers and the Hyundai A-League to an even larger audience internationally."