Makoto Hasebe, the 40-year-old former Japan captain and long-term stalwart at Eintracht Frankfurt, announced Wednesday he will retire at the end of the season.

The Shizuoka Prefecture native captained Japan in three straight World Cups from 2010 and won 114 caps for the Samurai Blue, while enjoying a long successful career in the German Bundesliga where he has spent 17 seasons since 2008, racking up an Asian record of 383 top-tier appearances.

Makoto Hasebe (top) celebrates with teammates Marcus Tulio Tanaka (L) and Yuji Nakazawa after Japan beat Denmark to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup finals in South Africa in June 2010. (Kyodo)

"It was a difficult decision, but I knew this day would come eventually. I think that this is the proper timing," Hasebe told a press conference, stating he will remain with Frankfurt and pursue a career as a coach.

He also wrote on Instagram, "I have decided to retire after this season. It doesn't feel real yet, but I want to enjoy the remaining month and give it my best until the end."

Makoto Hasebe, a long-term stalwart at Eintracht Frankfurt, holds a press conference in Frankfurt on April 17, 2024, announcing that he will retire at the end of the season. (Photo courtesy of Eintracht Frankfurt)(Kyodo)

Hasebe joined Urawa Reds in the J-League out of high school in 2002 and initially thrived as a dribbler before turning himself into a versatile player following his move to Wolfsburg, with whom he won his only Bundesliga title in 2009.

Makoto Hasebe (front) celebrates winning the Europa League final with Eintracht Frankfurt in May 2022. (Kyodo)

Eintracht Frankfurt's Makoto Hasebe is pictured warming up for a German first-division game against Werder Bremen in Frankfurt, on April 5, 2024. (Kyodo)

Following a year at Nurnberg, Hasebe joined Frankfurt in 2014 and gained legendary status at the club after winning the German Cup in 2018 and the Europa League in 2022. The veteran was handed a unique contract that year that let him decide when he would quit playing and move into a coaching role at the club.

Known for his leadership and stamina, Hasebe, who has been playing as a deep-lying defender in recent years, was lauded by many including former World Cup-winning Germany captain Lothar Matthaus.

File photo shows Makoto Hasebe (C) celebrating after Japan beat Colombia in their opening game of the World Cup finals in Russia in June, 2018. (Kyodo)

Hasebe has played seven league games this season and made two starts, the last coming Saturday at Stuttgart.

For Japan, Hasebe scored two goals and holds the record for the most appearances as captain with 81. He retired from international duty after guiding his country to the last 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Related coverage:

Football: Marinos edged 1-0 at Ulsan in ACL semifinal 1st leg

Football: 10-man Japan grind out win over China at U-23 Asian Cup

Football: Nakamura scores off Ito's assist in Reims defeat