When Takefusa Kubo (Kawasaki, 22 years old) was in the junior category, he was already a famous soccer player. “Look, that’s the Japanese that Barça has signed,” was the comment from the fans at the Etorkizun tournament that was played in 2012 in Arrigorriaga (Bizkaia). He stood out. He took the golden boot as top scorer. He was one of the pearls that La Masia wanted to cultivate, but he had to return to Japan when FIFA determined that Barcelona was violating the international player transfer policy.
But Kubo was determined to return to Europe. He did so when he came of age, although he changed sides. He went to Real Madrid, did not make his debut, and had a chain of loan spells at Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe to return to Palma again. He still belonged to Madrid, but he had no place in the team, so the white offices considered the possibility of a transfer. And there the Royal Society appeared.
In Zubieta, Olabe and his team had no doubts, despite Kubo’s lurches from here to there. With the data they had, they thought that the Japanese footballer would fit like a glove in Imanol’s scheme, and they were not wrong. Without adaptation problems because he speaks Spanish like a native, he integrated very quickly into the soccer dynamics of the Txuriurdin team, although he had doubts before arriving. “I saw an almost unbeatable team at home. Between the atmosphere of the fans and the game they play, you would end up getting dizzy and they would kill you slowly,” he commented, “but once inside I noticed that more than quality, there is also a lot of work, we analyze the rival a lot, according to who That is, we make one exit or another. He is all very trained.”
He signed for five years, and thanks Real Sociedad that his call-up for the 2022 World Cup was due to playing with his shirt. “This team makes good players,” he confessed. “If it’s not for Real, I’m not going to the World Cup,” he said shortly after being called up by Japan. He immediately became one of the mainstays of Real, he got dozens of compatriots to come to Anoeta every weekend to see him play and for the media in his country to pay attention to Real’s games. For Imanol he was the undisputed starter, scored nine goals and became one of the mainstays in qualifying, after 10 years, for the Champions League. Against Inter, on Wednesday, he will fulfill the dream of any professional of listening to the version of the Händel piece written by Tom Britten that serves as the soundtrack to the European competition.
But Kubo continues to grow. He has been Real’s best in August and September. He already has three goals and three assists. At the Bernabéu, where he had an exceptional first half, he put the ball to Barrenetxea for the first goal and scored another, canceled due to offside by Oyarzabal. Ancelotti suffered with his one on one. “He played very well,” he said at the end. Will he return?
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