Union Berlin's Atsuto Uchida waves goodbye to Schalke ahead of Matchday 3 clash with Stuttgart

Former Schalke star Atsuto Uchida was given an official send-off by the Royal Blues ahead of their game against Stuttgart at the VELTINS Arena on Matchday 3.

The 74-time Japan international, 29, joined Bundesliga 2 outfit Union Berlin this summer after making 104 league appearances during a seven-year stint in Gelsenkirchen.

Despite being blighted by injuries in recent seasons, Uchida is regarded with huge affection among Schalke supporters, who gave him a rapturous reception as he was lead on to the pitch prior to Sunday’s Matchday 3 curtain-closer.

Uchida remains a household hame in his homeland, despite last featuring for his country over two years ago. Indeed, Schalke’s Japanese Twitter account remains the third-most popular in Europe behind Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Union Berlin are the third most-clicked club on the Bundesliga’s official Japanese site since his arrival.

Watch: Uchida sponsors a resident at Gelsenkirchen zoo

He made his second-tier debut for Union earlier on Sunday, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 3-2 defeat to league leaders Fortuna Düsseldorf.

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