The 31-year-old striker Stevica Ristikj will continue his career in Japan with top division side Shonan Bellmare.
The move was announced earlier today on Shonan Bellmare’s official website. The club is currently in the relegation zone in Japan’s top division, so they were looking to improve the squad, especially the attack. In the 18 team league, Shonan Bellmare has scored the second fewest goals this season with just 17 goals in 20 league games. Therefore, Ristikj was brought in to improve that number and help the club move up the standings.
Ristikj moves to Shonan Bellmare as a free agent after his contract expired with Suwon last month. After his last game with Suwon on 3 July, Stevica mentioned that his next club would likely be in Japan or the Middle East. Now we know that Japan will be his next destination. Ristikj ruled out staying in South Korea out of respect to Suwon and their fans.
As in Suwon, Ristikj will be registered with the name “Stevo” with his new team Shonan Bellmare. In comments published on Shonan’s website, Stevica was quoted as saying, “I have always been intrigued about playing in Japan one day. I am very grateful that, this time, Shonan Bellmare gave me a chance. I will do my best to help the team achieve its goal.”
Ristikj becomes the third Macedonian international in Japan after Nikola Jakimovski (Nagoya) and Bazhe Ilijoski (Gifu).