Japan defender Maya Yoshida is leaving Schalke following their relegation to the Bundesliga's second division, the German club announced Wednesday.

Maya Yoshida. (Kyodo)

The 34-year-old, who captained Japan during the Qatar World Cup late last year, joined Schalke from Italian side Sampdoria ahead of the season and played in 29 matches for the team that finished 17th in the table.

Schalke said the former VVV Venlo and Southampton defender would have stayed at the club for another season had they avoided relegation.

"There's absolutely nothing decided on the future," Yoshida had said after Schalke's final game of the season. "Staying for another year with the team in the first division would have been best."

Schalke's Maya Yoshida (R) in action against Bayern Munich during the second half of a German Bundesliga match at Munich's Allianz Arena on May 13, 2023. (Kyodo)