Reo Hatate breaks Celtic injury silence as team mate sends 'back on the grind' message after Asian Cup exit
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Celtic star Reo Hatate has sent an emotional message to fans after suffering a major injury blow while on Asian Cup duty - with the midfielder facing six weeks on the sidelines.
The 26-year-old limped off during the first-half of Japan's last-16 encounter with Bahrain last week, with Hoops manager Brendan Rodgers later revealing that he had injured BOTH of his calves and will face another lengthy spell out.
Hatate, who missed out on the Blue Samurai's tournament opener against Vietnam before featuring against Iraq and Indonesia during the group stage, was forced to watch on from the stands as Japan suffered a shock exit at the hands of Iran on Saturday after conceding a heart-breaking late penalty.
After taking some time to reflect on his latest injury setback, an emotional Hatate took to social media to update supporters on his current situation. Posting an image of himself in action during the Asian Cup on Instagram, he wrote: "I could not contribute to the team and I am not good enough. I accept the reality and will continue to fight. Thank you for your support for the Asian Cup!"
The utility man had been out since late October with a severe hamstring problem sustained during the Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid but returned for the Scottish champions just in time to be called up by Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu for the tournament along with fellow Celtic team mate Daizen Maeda.
Rodgers admitted on Friday: "Another part of this season where we have had no luck from an injury perspective to our top players. He will be back very soon and we will start treatment and get him back as soon as we can."
Celtic's first-team squad has been stretched in recent weeks, with several players off representing their countries. Maeda will make an immediate return to help the club's Scottish Premiership title push. The winger also took to Instagram by uploading a resilient message as he prepared to make his way back to Glasgow.
Shared a mix of emotions with his followers following Japan's exit, Maeda wrote: "Thank you for supporting Asia Cup. Feeling lonely but got to keep moving forward. Back on the team and back on the grind."