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Arigatō & Sayōnara, Ryō!

Another farewell that hurts. After six years at the Millerntor, Ryō Miyaichi leaves the Boys in Brown this summer. The attacking wide player thrilled the fans from the word go. He was a win for the club not only as a footballer but also as a person, but unfortunately his time at the Millerntor was shaped by injuries. Miyaichi never gave up, though, and fought his way back every time. It remains to be seen where the likeable Japan international will go next. But what we can say is that FC St. Pauli wishes him all the very best – and especially good health!

When Miyaichi moved to the Millerntor from Arsenal in June 2015, the club's director of sport, Thomas Meggle, described him as a "lad with a super character". He was spot on. From the outset, it was a great fit between the Japan midfielder, who was always polite and, in the beginning still very reserved, and the club. Miyaichi had repeatedly been sent out on loan to different clubs by Arsenal but settled in very quickly at the Millerntor and in Hamburg. "I hope FC St. Pauli will become my home," he said even before his move. His hope was to become a reality. He and his wife Yuka, along their two children born in Hamburg during his spell at the club, did indeed find a new home at the club over the last six years.

The fleet-footed winger repeatedly emphasised how very much at home he felt at St. Pauli, not least because of the club's "fantastic fans". In purely footballing terms, however, the last six years did not go according to plan for the 28-year-old, of course, especially his start, which could not have gone any worse. A week before the 2015/16 league campaign kicked off, Miyaichi tore a cruciate ligament in his left knee in the final warm-up game against Rayo Vallecano, an injury that meant he did not make his competitive debut until nine months later in the home game against Union Berlin on 1 April 2016.

Unfortunately, the Japan midfielder suffered another serious setback during the preparations for the 2017/18 season. After an up-and-down 2016/17 campaign in which Miyaichi remained largely injury-free, he sustained another cruciate ligament tear, this time in his right knee. Another lengthy layoff followed, but because he refused to bury his head in the sand he came through it once again, instead showing immense ambition and desire to fight his way back a second time with the valuable support of his teammates and his family.

 

Miyaichi, who switched to the No12 shirt after his two cruciate tears and three years in the No13 jersey, made a total of 80 appearances in his six years at the club. He contributed eight goals and nine assists in this time, among them a brace in the 5-2 defeat of Kaiserslautern in the final home game of the 2015/16 season that will live long in the memory, a wonderful finale to an incredibly difficult first year. Five years later, Ryō would have loved to have run out in front of another sell-out crowd at the Millerntor against Hannover in the final home game of the 2020/21 season – his third return from a long injury layoff – but unfortunately the coronavirus meant this was not possible.

In the hope that fans will be allowed back to the Millerntor in the near future, Miyaichi will certainly be given the fitting send-off he deserves very soon. Until then, Ryō, we wish you and your family lots of good health and all the very best, wherever your future career takes you! Stay the way you are! You will always be welcome at your Millerntor home!

You’ll never walk alone!!!

 

Photos: Witters

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