Football: Zaccheroni hails Honda transfer to AC Milan

TOKYO- Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni has cheered Keisuke Honda’s transfer to AC Milan, a move expected to net the midfielder 5.5 million euros ($7.6 million) a year.

The Italian, who managed the Serie A side in 1998-2001, stressed it was only the beginning for the 27-year-old international.

“In addition to techniques and strategies, Honda has a very strong personality. That is an element that will be crucial to play in Milan,” Zaccheroni told reporters Thursday.

“Naturally, the fight for a position is fierce. Honda is fully capable of that fight physically, technically and mentally,” he said.

Honda, who has shone at CSKA Moscow, will move to Milan early in the New Year, the Italian club’s vice-president Adriano Galliani has confirmed.

The Nikkan Sports newspaper said his contract will run to June 2017, and will cost the club 5.5 million euros a year, adding that more than 10 clubs had wanted to sign him.

Honda joined CSKA Moscow in 2010, moving to Russia after two years with Dutch side VVV Venlo.

He has been capped 52 times for Japan and scored 20 goals, two of which came at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.