Nakata inspired Japan from playing baseball to football



Wed, 16 Aug 2017 - 02:12 GMT


Wed, 16 Aug 2017 - 02:12 GMT

Nakata – Ximer Matteo Youtube Channel

Nakata – Ximer Matteo Youtube Channel

CAIRO – 16 August 2017: With Asia’s development in modern football during the past few years, Egypt Today decided to look at one of the Japanese football icons that made the whole continent love the sport.

Hidetoshi Nakata is a veteran Japanese footballer who started playing the sport in the early 19th century. He managed to play at two Italian giants AS Roma ACF Fiorentina.

In an interview with the FIFA YouTube channel earlier this month, Nakata talked about his career and the reason why he liked playing football.

Nakata recalls that during his childhood, baseball was the most played sport and football was coming slowly from behind in Japan. He states that he did not have any favorite team or idols because the sport did not attract the Japanese people at first.

Nakata had to choose between playing baseball and football and due to his great admiration for a Japanese cartoon called Captain Tsubasa, Nakata chose football. The Japanese said that he fell in love with the sport after reading the cartoon.

The Japanese icon started playing the sport and began to play with Japan’s U17 and U19 National team until he made it to the top. Nakata states that when he played football with the national team at such a small age, he began to notice that he had a dream.

Nakata’s dream came true, managing to play with Japan in their first appearance in the 1998 World Cup. Following his great performances with the Japanese national team, Nakata received a European offer from the Italian club Perugia. The Japanese midfielder who used to play in the streets would go and play football in one the top European leagues: the Seria A (Italian League).

Nakata recalls that he had offers from many leagues; however, when Italy came calling he could not refuse especially that the first football shirt he bought belonged to an Italian club. His move to Perugia made him one of the first Japanese footballers to play in a European football team.

Nakata started playing for Perugia for two seasons from 1998 to 2000 before joining European giants AS Roma where he played there for one season. He then moved on to play for Parma from 2001-2004. The iconic Japanese midfielder then moved to Fiorentina then to the English club Bolton Wonders where his career ended.

Nakata is one of the few players who represented Japan three times in the World Cup in 1998, 2002 and 2006. His prosperous career inspired many youngsters in Japan to play the sport turning Japan from a country that is interested mainly in baseball to being one of the dominant modern football forces in Asia.



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