Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate has openly expressed his ambition to test himself in one of Europe's elite football leagues, hinting that his time at the Scottish champions may be nearing an end.

The 26-year-old Japanese playmaker has been a revelation since joining Celtic from the J-League two-and-a-half years ago, helping the club win seven trophies during his time at Parkhead.

However, Hatate has never hidden his desire to eventually play at an even higher level.

In a recent interview with Japanese media, Hatate reiterated his long-term goal of competing in one of Europe's top divisions.

"There are still higher leagues, so if I can challenge for those leagues, I want to do so," he stated. "Unless I aim for that, there is no point in me continuing as an athlete. I want to keep aiming high. I would like to play in the Premier League, as well as Spain or Italy."

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Hatate's impressive performances and creative flair have caught the attention of several clubs across the continent, and it appears the Hoops star is now ready to take the next step in his burgeoning career.

While Celtic will be desperate to hold onto their prized asset, the player's comments suggest he sees his future away from the Scottish Premiership.

The former Kawasaki Frontale prodigy also admitted that it took him longer than anticipated to adapt to Brendan Rodgers' style after the Northern Irishman replaced Ange Postecoglou as Celtic manager. 

"The biggest part of the game was that, in Ange's time, the first thing we did was play goal-oriented football," he explained. 

"We were told to go vertical as much as possible. But Rodgers' coaching style is very much about the ball. Even in situations where you can attack quickly, the first priority is to keep the ball. I believe that is the main change.

"There are also other obvious differences, like the fact that fewer goals were scored from crosses compared to the 2022-23 season. I think it was a difficult season, as it was the first year with Rodgers as manager. If I had to say, it was more a sense of keeping the good parts of the previous team, and trying to adapt to what the new coach wanted to do.

"That's why we struggled in the beginning, but as we worked on it, we came to understand what each other wanted to do. As a team, we have found a good response, but we also wanted to do more. Personally, I enjoyed the more aggressive and faster goal-oriented style of football. But I also discovered new things, including how to take care of the ball, so it was a good experience."