The Japanese Messi Begins A New Journey In La Liga

Takefusa Kubo was supposed to be the “next Lionel Messi”. Or rather, “Japanese Messi”. Actually it was not. As was the case with all the players assigned to Messi’s successor, none of them fared well.

Kubo is a former La Masia star, who joined Real Madrid in 2019 at the age of 18. Los Blancos. Therefore, it was not surprising that Real Madrid Kubo moved to Real Sociedad for 6.5 million euros.

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However, the La Liga title holders still control 50% of his playing rights, which can be sold at a later time.

So, the question remains: How did Takefusa Kubo fall from the top of La Masia and Real Madrid, to being another youngster struggling to establish himself in Europe?

Bright start in Japan and Barcelona

Takefusa Kubo’s early career spanned to FC Persimmon, Tokyo Verde and Kawasaki Frontale from 2008 to 2011. In between, Kubo excelled in the Barcelona football camp, winning the Player of the Year award.

Furthermore, he also played for the Barcelona school team, and was once again crowned as the best player in the European Sodexo Cup. Therefore, it was no surprise that the Catalans invited him to try out at the Camp Nou in 2011. Kubo went through with flying colors and was put into U11s.

He scored 74 goals in 30 games in his first campaign. By then, it was clear that he was a very special player and was promoted to the U14s team in 2014.

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However, Barcelona was found to have violated the FIFA rules governing players under the age of 18. Thus, Kubo was banned from playing for Blaugrana and returned to Japan, joining FC Tokyo.

From Tokyo to Madrid

Takefusa Kubo continued his prolific style, playing for the Under-18 team at the age of 15. FC Tokyo elevated him to the reserve in 2016, with Kubo making his J3 League debut in November.

He set the record for the youngest player to appear in any Japanese league at the age of 15 years and five months. His arc for the first team was clearly coming soon, as Kubo became the youngest goalscorer in Japan’s history in April 2017.

His debut came just a month later, and Kubo eventually became a regular member of the team by the end of the year. Kubo was loaned to Yokohama Marionos FC in early 2018, before spending the rest of the first year and half of 2019 at Tokyo Football Club.

That was when Real Madrid came. Long before Florentino Perez’s youth Galacticos Politics began, Madrid was intended to jump on the future star.

The expectation was that Kubo would meet Real Madrid B, but the club decided to loan him to Mallorca. Kubo played 35 matches and scored four times.

This was followed by a second loan spell in 2020 to Villarreal, which was cut short in January 2021 after a lack of playing time. However, Kubo immediately joined Getafe, playing 18 matches. He returned to Mallorca for the 2021-22 season, in which he participated 28 times.

Kubo’s suffering was similar to that of Reinier Jesus, another youngster who struggled in Madrid and was out on loan again.

according to fbref, He averaged 7.85 forward moves per 90 and completed 2.02 dribbles per 90. Moreover, he was also skilled at blocking shots, averaging 1.79 per 90.

A young star needs support

There is no doubt that the continuous loan periods have had a detrimental effect on the development of his game. A change in manager and system every season can’t be a good sign for a rising star.

Takefusa Kubo is still only 21 years old and has the best years ahead of him. Real Sociedad is a strong competitor in the top six.

Real Madrid is behind Luka Modric in Lovro Mager, the great midfielder coming from Croatia.

Furthermore, they are also playing in the European League in 2022-23. The European experience will serve Kubo well, and he is eager to go with his words that reflect the same,

“Firstly, I think it was the team that best suited my style as a footballer, and secondly because of the interest they gave me, I think they were the first team. Looking from the outside, I saw a very young team, with a lot of ambition and desire, and I am very happy to be another one here. As a Japanese, I’ve seen two Japanese win the European League, and since we have the opportunity to try, why not?”

The career path of football cannot be precisely defined, especially in these turbulent times. There will be opportunities for Kubo to represent a European giant soon.

However, he now has to focus on getting back to his best, especially with the FIFA World Cup approaching. Japan is a continental power, and has many stars to come. Kubo hopes this start is a sign of even greater things to come.

Featured Image Credits: football spain