Shinji Kagawa. (Getty/Kyodo)

Former Samurai Blue star Shinji Kagawa will return to the J-League with his former club Cerezo Osaka, a source familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who scored 31 goals in 97 internationals for Japan, has been with Sint-Truiden in the Belgian top tier since last January.

A native of Kobe in western Japan, Kagawa made his professional debut with Cerezo in 2006.

He transferred to Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga in 2010 and immediately thrived under manager Jurgen Klopp, contributing to back-to-back league championships.

Kagawa was signed by Manchester United in 2012 and became both the first Asian player to score a hat trick and the first Japanese player to wear a champion's medal in the English Premier League.

But he otherwise struggled under a rotating cast of managers at Old Trafford following the retirement of legendary boss Alex Ferguson, and he returned to Dortmund after just two years.

Playing at his second World Cup in 2018, Kagawa was instrumental for Akira Nishino's squad, who defied expectations by advancing to the round of 16.

He joined Turkish side Besiktas on loan in the summer of 2019 and also had spells in Spain and Greece before landing with Japanese-owned Sint-Truiden, for whom he scored two goals in 12 games this season.