Mitsuo Ogasawara of Japan joins Messina on loan

World Cup midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara has joined Italian club Messina on a one-year loan deal, his J-League first-division club Kashima Antlers announced Monday.

Ogasawara left for Italy the same day to ink the deal, which is effective through June 2007, according to a statement on Kashima's Web site.

Kashima had earlier said they would agree to loan the 27-year-old if Messina was able to remain in the Italian first division, AP reports.

Messina, who were headed for demotion to the second division after a poor finish in the 2005-2006 season, held onto their spot in the top division after champions Juventus were stripped of their title and relegated to Serie B in Italy's match-fixing scandal.

Fellow World Cup player Atsushi Yanagisawa played for Messina from 2004 until returning to Kashima earlier this year.