Latest Article
A sensational European debut for Morita

Asian players going to a European club for the first time will normally take some time to settle down.

But not Japanese midfielder Hidemasa Morita.

In his debut for Primeira Liga outfit CD Santa Clara, the 25-year-old scored the 89th minute winning goal in the 2-1 win over Rio Ave on Monday (January 25).

And he also earned the man-of-the-match award for his overall performance in just his first 90 minutes of action in Europe.

Just two weeks after signing on for Santa Clara, Morita was thrust straight into the starting line-up by his manager Daniel Ramos.

And Morita, fresh from helping Kawasaki Frontale bag the J-League 1 crown last year, did not show any signs of nervousness by fitting in straight away.

Brazilian Carlos had put Santa ahead in the 24th minute but Rio Ave’s Japanese player Ryotaro Meshino equalised just two minutes later. The game seemed headed for a draw until Morita struck a minute before regulation time ended.

Besides scoring the winning goal, Morita also made two clearances, two interceptions and won three tackles against Rio Ave to cap a fine evening.

Scoring a goal in his very first match in the Primeira Liga was astonishing for Morita, as in his previous 108 appearances for Kawasaki in all competitions from 2018 till 2020, he has only scored a grand total of two goals!

The midfielder, who was named in the J-League’s Best XI for 2020, only started his senior football career at the age of 23 with Kawasaki.

Before that, he played for his Ryutsu Keizai University team in a regional competition in Japan.

In his first season with Kawasaki, Morita established himself as a regular and helped the club win the League 1 title.

He also received a first call-up to the Japanese national club the same year.

Just three years after his senior debut, he is now a goalscorer in one of Europe’s toughest leagues.

After such a fine debut, more can be expected from Morita for both Santa Clara and the Japan national team.

Santa Clara are currently eighth in the 18-team Primeira Liga standings on 18 points. They finished ninth in the Portuguese top flight last season.

Posted at
“小胖讲波”:彭亨实施双主帅制,欲步利物浦后尘?

谈起双主帅制,这对于资深球迷而言并不陌生,但放眼当今足坛可说是早就销声匿迹了。原因很简单,因为绝大部分采用过这个制度的球队都失败了,不可行的方法被弃用简直就再合理不过了。

然而,马超球队彭亨却将在来临的新赛季采用这个“新奇”的制度。也许是鉴于球队在近年来不仅没能取得突破,更在上赛季取得了近4年来最糟糕的战绩—第八名,彭亨高层决定搞点新花样来刺激球队。

他们宣布聘请了托马斯·杜利,这位曾担任菲律宾国家队主帅的“前美国队长”,为球队的主教练。然而,同时让原有的主帅多拉·萨勒担任球队的经理一职,实施双主帅制。

对此,俱乐部CEO拿督苏菲安乐观的表示:“我们拥有了两位在球员时期证明过自己实力的传奇,我相信在他们的共同管理下,球队内无论是本土球员或是外援,都能够拿出最佳的表现。”

其实,采取双主帅制的出发点并没有错。比如主帅一职的工作是相当繁多的,要是由两人来分担,各施其职,那么两位主帅在工作量减少的情况下也就能达到更高的效率。另一方面则是,两位主帅或许各有所长,也有所不足,那么两人合作若能起到互补的作用将会是完美的。

但很不幸的是,历史告诉了我们这只是一个不现实的理想,看着好处多多,但在实施起来后就会发现问题所在。英超豪强利物浦就曾尝试双主帅制,球队在1998年时让霍利尔和埃文斯一同执教,但结果却是成绩惨淡,仅仅4个月后埃文斯便离职,让前者独自管理球队。

对于这段经历,埃文斯在2004年发布其个人自传时提到:“主帅的工作是有很多的,但真的能够分清楚谁负责些什么吗?对于球队的首发阵容,两个人有着不同的意见时那该怎么办?谁才是那个拥有最终决定权的人?”

另外,曾混迹于英超的博尔顿也遭遇过同样的经历。球队在1995年成功升上英超后,一口气引进了在德比郡组成黄金后卫组合的罗伊·麦克法兰以及科林·托德,让两人以双主帅的形式管理球队。结果,博尔顿在38场联赛中只赢下了8场,垫底降级,赛季结束后麦克法兰被迫离队,让托德独自管理球队。

对于这段经历,麦克法兰在接受采访时说道:“我们两人还是好朋友,其实我不想离队,希望能够带领球队卷土重来,但事实就是当两人一同管理球队时,有些决定是很难做出的。尽管我们已经尽力付出一切,但始终无法取得一个平衡点。”

这例子证明了哪怕在球员时期配合得相当好的搭档,在一起管理球队时也会因为意见不一而导致管理混乱。如今,彭亨队让一位美国人和大马人,两个拥有不同文化背景的一同管理球队,前景真的明朗吗?

在有了前车之鉴的情况下,这实在是让人难以理解的操作。但无论如何,鲁小胖衷心希望彭亨能够狠狠打脸创造历史,成为首个取得成功的双主帅制球队,让大马名扬海外,哪怕这个可能性是多么的渺茫……

Posted at
Daniel back in football after ‘recharging battery’

Footballers normally come out of retirement to play again because they love the game or to help out a beloved club in trouble.

In Daniel Ting’s case, he is returning to football following a two-year break after “recharging his batteries”. He has just signed up with the newly promoted Malaysian Super League team Kuala Lumpur United after “disappearing” from the football scene for the last two years.

The 28-year-old Daniel left football totally after playing for PKNS in the 2018 MSL season. He spent two years in Australia “doing other things and getting a new direction and outlook in life”.

Now, he is ready to resume his football career and claims to be better both physically and mentally, and is able to judge things from a better perspective.

The player who can operate both as a centreback or a defensive midfielder has opted to join Bojan Hodak’s City Boys for the 2021 season.

Daniel is delighted to join up again with his PKNS ex-teammate Safee Sali. The ex-Malaysian international Safee, who played for Petaling Jaya City last year, also returned to Kuala Lumpur for the coming season.

Kuala Lumpur bounced back to the top flight after a third-placed finish in the second-tier Premier League last year. Besides Safee, they also possess two other Malaysian “legends” – Indra Putra Mahayuddin and Shukor Adan.

Daniel, whose father is a Malaysian from Sarawak and mother a British citizen from Manchester, started his football career with English League One (third division) club Crewe Alexandra in 2011.

After failing to make an appearance with Crewe’s senior team, he left the following year to play for a host of lower-league clubs in England, including Market Drayton Town and Droyldsden who featured in England’s Northern Premier League.

Looking to boost his playing career, Daniel moved to Malaysia to join Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) II in 2016 and also played for Negeri Sembilan and PKNS before walking away from football in 2018.

Daniel didn’t publicly disclose the real reasons of why he quit but said that at the time, he knew that he would be returning to football in the future.

Other players, especially youngsters in this region, can learn from him that sometimes it is better to take a break or walk away rather than be crushed under pressure or live miserably when things don’t go well.



Posted at
Mana makes explosive start for Aston Villa

The Asian men players like Son Heung-min are not the only ones making waves in European football right now.

Japan’s female star player Mana Iwabuchi made an immediate impact  during her Women’s Super League debut with Aston Villa. After coming on as a 58th minute sub with Villa trailing 0-1, she scored once and created another during the 2-2 draw with Reading on January 23.

The 27-year-old midfielder, who has made 72 appearances for the Japanese national team and a World Cup winner, just joined the Birmingham-based club last month.

And as the sole Asian female player in England, Iwabuchi certainly made a stunning debut to prove she belongs in the new-look top flight women’s league that is gaining prominence.

The 1.56 metres tall Iwabuchi, who is dubbed the “female Japanese Messi” due to her short stature and abundance of talent on the pitch, is no stranger to European football.

She played for Hoffenheim in Germany for two years from 2012 before moving to the German giants Bayern Munich in 2014. Three years later, she decided to head back to Japan and featured for INAC Kobe Leonessa.

With her move to Villa, Iwabuchi became just the fourth Japanese female player to feature in England’s first division. Yukari Kinga and Shinobu Ono both had stints with Arsenal in 2014, while Yuki Nagasato spent the 2013 season at Chelsea.

The 2012 London Olympics silver medalist also holds the joint eighth-highest scorer record for the Japanese national team with 29 goals.

After her explosive start, Villa will be banking on Iwabuchi to be their saviour. After a difficult start to the season, Villa are currently 11th, just one spot off the bottom of the table. They have won just two and drawn one of their ten matches so far.

Their next match is against second-placed Chelsea on January 28.

Posted at
务求卫冕,掸邦联狂挖争冠对手当家射脚

为了力争完成联赛三连冠的伟业,缅甸甲卫冕冠军掸邦联再次对锋线进行补强。此前,这支缅甸豪门已经签下了22岁的本土前锋苏温温,但由于他尚属潜力新星无法直接担任首发。

因此,掸邦联此番直接向争冠对手伊洛瓦底联下手,引进了对方的当家前锋拉斐尔·瑟塞克斯。这位尼日利亚前锋的进球效率极高,在上赛季联赛18次出场便轰进16球,力压群雄拿下了金靴奖。另外,掸邦联还引进了缅甸国脚前锋丹班,这位前仰光联的当家前锋则是在上赛季取得了6个进球。

在一连引进了3名前锋,外加上原本的主力前锋津民屯,球队的进攻实力可说是提升了一个档次。加上引进两名争冠对手的主力前锋,这引援思路非常明显,就是通过削弱对手大大增加自身的夺冠机会。毕竟掸邦联在上赛季仅以3分的微弱优势夺冠,这么做绝对是相当合理的。

然而,在如此大动作的引援下,掸邦联除了需力争拿下联赛冠军,相信球迷们也希望球队可在亚冠取得突破。他们在过去两个赛季皆在第一轮就不敌菲律宾豪门联城,早早出局。在即将来临的新赛季,他们的对手则是澳超的墨尔本城,实力同样不容小觑。

Posted at
Asnawi embraces Korean football with Ansan move

Asnawi Mangkualam is the latest Indonesian youngster to venture out in search of higher quality and more competitive football.

The 21-year-old Indonesian national Under-23 player has signed on a one-year contract with the Korean League 2 club Ansan Greeners FC.

Asnawi, who previously played for PSM Makassar in the Indonesian Liga 1, grasped the opportunity when he learnt of Ansan’s interest in him.

With the date for the Indonesian domestic football to resume still to be decided and local-based players being inactive since March last year, now seemed to be a good time for the defender to move to South Korea.

Ansan recruited Asnawi based on the recommendation of the current Indonesia national team head coach Shin Tae-yong. The ex-South Korean international’s son Jae-won, who is contracted with K-League 1 side Seoul FC, spent the entire last season with Ansan as a loan player.

Tae-yong believes Asnawi has the capability to go far in the game, and a stint playing in the much tougher Korean domestic football will benefit the player and the Indonesian national side.

Asnawi burst into the senior football scene as a 17-year-old with Persiba Balikpapan in 2016. Playing as a defensive midfielder, he scored two goals in just eight appearances in his debut season.

This caught the attention of Makassar, who signed him on in 2017. As his career progressed, he switched to play as either a rightback or centreback.

At the age of 18, he was one of the youngest members of the Indonesian Under-23 team which finished third at the 2017 SEA Games football competition in Kuala Lumpur.

Although Asnawi only signed with the Korean club, who are known as the Green Wolves, on January 19, the interest regarding his impending move had snowballed much earlier.

In the space of less than a week after rumours regarding Asnawi’s signing started, the number of followers on Ansan Greeners Instagram page had more than tripled from 5,000 to 16,000 followers.

Almost all the new Ansan Greeners followers were Indonesians who were excited about Asnawi’s new adventure in the K-League.


Posted at
巾帼不让须眉,“日本女梅西”闪耀英伦

现年27岁有着“日本女梅西”之称的前锋岩渕真奈,在代表阿斯顿维拉女足的首秀,就通过优异的表现引起了众多球迷的关注。

在对阵雷丁女足的联赛当中,阿斯顿维拉两度落后,但岩渕真奈送出一传一射,帮助球队以2-2战平对手。如此惊艳的首秀,也难怪英国的球迷们都在研究这究竟是何方神圣。

其实,岩渕真奈早就有过留洋经历了。她在201218岁时就加盟了德国球队霍芬海姆,在交出了1个半赛季出场30次打入10球的数据后,拜仁便将其挖角。但正当球迷们以为“日本女梅西”将迎来巅峰时,她却饱受伤病的困扰,三个赛季仅出场24次,取得5个进球,无奈与球队解约并回到日本。

在祖国三年的磨练后,再次旅欧的岩渕真奈并没有引起太大的反响,直到这一精彩绝伦的表现,让人意识到这还是当初的女梅西!至于为何会有这个称号呢? 1.55米的身高在女足而言也是相对偏矮,但岩渕真奈通过灵活的身躯,出色的脚下技术创出了一片天,加上打的位置是前锋,自然让人联想到梅球王。

Posted at
“不是老表”:“想念你,科比!”

一代篮球传奇科比布莱恩特离世接近一年,上周日又传来巴西空难的噩耗,令人悲伤感慨。

 

这已是巴西足坛5年来发生的第二宗空难惨剧。接载巴西丁级联赛俱乐部帕尔马斯参加一场巴西杯赛的小型飞机,在巴西中部一个小镇托坎丁斯起飞后不久坠毁,机上6人包括机师、帕尔马斯主席和4名球员全部罹难。

 

2016年,沙佩科恩斯在准备前往哥伦比亚参加南美洲杯决赛首回合前遇上空难,机上77人人中有71人死亡,其中包括19名沙佩科恩斯球员。

 

告别春天郁闷,炎夏仍未能消灭疫症祸害;然而秋意未浓,速速入冬,又回到年初的悲痛。

 

“最让人窒息的一年”──2020年,武肺的出现令全世界受尽折磨至今,科比和马拉多纳在年初和年杪相继与世长辞。10个月内,篮球足球传奇,天堂再聚。

 

美国时间2020126日,永远的“小飞侠”科比与次女吉安娜在内的9人,因一场直升机坠毁意外罹难,令各界心痛不已。父女二人早已入土为安,但大家对他们的思念还是不减。

 

谁是世界上最伟大的篮球员?张伯伦、乔丹、科比、勒布朗詹姆斯?

 

不同年代的人,有各自不同的答案。但至少在科比心目中,没有MJ就没有他。

 

作为“篮球之神”接班人,科比在生涯期间处处被外界拿来与乔丹比较,对于这个“永恒的疑问”,他只有一个答案。

 

“乔丹有如我的老大哥;我真的很讨厌那些‘我们一打一谁会赢’的讨论。你在我身上看到的所有,其实都是在他身上学习回来的,没有迈克尔,我根本不会有5NBA总冠军。”

 

是的,科比不在了,但他超出球场的曼巴精神(Mamba Mentality)永续于世上。

 

“曼巴精神”是什么?是一种职人精神,是一种生活态度,是一套人生哲理:实事求事、精益求精、永不停步、绝不妥协。

 

“曼巴精神”不是要人去追求结果,而是更着重于如何得到结果的过程。“它是一种手法、一个旅程,这是一套人生哲学。”

 

24号球衣的典故呢?

 

“背号24的意思就是24小时。我希望把我所有的精力毫无保留地投入篮球,这就是我选择背号24的原因。如果不能全心全意地投入其中,我就不是Kobe。”

 

“你知道凌晨四点的洛杉矶是怎样的吗?”当时记者问他成功的秘诀是什么,他如此反问。

 

无论有没有比赛,科比每天凌晨4时便起来操练,风雨不改。

 

成为传奇之前,科比也不过是人,一天一天非常踏实地走向目标,信仰他创造的“曼巴精神”。

 

科比有没有在清晨4时起床,从来都不是重点,反之,是他近乎迷信地相信努力这回事。而事实也证明,天道酬勤。

 

20年的篮球生涯,科比留下了很多令人值得深思的金句。以下15句金句,涵盖了追求成功、团队合作、领导力、克服恐惧、面对低潮,共勉之。

 

“追求成功”

 

1.“人生中有很多我们要选择的事。如果你想精通某件事情,你必须做出选择。我们都可以在自己的领域成为大师,但你必须做出选择。每一个的决定都会伴随着牺牲,和家人相处、和朋友出去玩,身为一个好朋友、一个好儿子、侄子,依据情况而定。这些决定都会伴随着其他事情的牺牲。”

 

2.“每件负面的事,如压力、挑战,都是自我提升的机会。”

 

“努力工作”

 

3.“我不能与懒惰的人沟通,我们讲的语言不一样,我不明白他们的意思,我不想理解他们。”

 

4.“我和懒惰的人毫无共同之处,他们把失败责怪在别人身上。伟大的事情来自努力工作和毅力,没有藉口。”

 

5.“奉献精神令梦想成真。”

 

“复原力”

 

6.“我就在这里,哪儿也不去,不管伤势如何,除非身体完全衰弱,不然我还是会像以前一样的球员。我会看着办,做一些调整、一些改变,但我还是会来(练习)。”

 

“团队合作”

 

7.“重要的是,你的队友必须知道你在支持他们,你真的希望他们成功。”

 

“胜利”

 

8. “我会不惜一切代价赢得比赛,无论是坐在板凳上挥舞着毛巾,把一杯水交给队友,或投出致胜一球。”

 

9.“你放弃的那一刻,就是你让别人赢的时刻。”

 

“领导力”

 

10.“最重要的是尝试激励他人,使他们能够做好自己想做的事。”

 

“毅力”

 

11.“我曾经为打篮球而断手、扭伤脚踝、肩膀脱臼、牙齿碎掉、嘴唇裂开、膝盖肿成一个垒球大小。我不想因为脚趾受伤错过15场比赛,因为大家都知道脚趾受伤并不严重。”

 

“克服恐惧”

 

12. “我最后一次被吓倒是在6岁时上空手道班。我当时是橙带,教练命令我和一个年纪与身型都比我大的黑带比赛。我吓坏了,他踢了我的屁股,但后来我意识到,他踢我屁股并没有我想像中那么糟糕,所以没有什么好怕。就在那时,我意识到,如果你的心态正确,恐惧并不存在。”

 

“面对失败”

 

13.“我会自我怀疑。我有不安全感,我害怕失败。当我出现在比赛场上时,有一些夜晚,我会想,我的背很痛,我的脚受伤,我的膝盖受伤。我没有办法了,我只想放松。我们都会自我怀疑。你不否认它,但也不会屈服于它。你要做的是去拥抱它。”

 

14. “一旦你知道失败的感觉,就会决心追逐成功。”

 

15. “当我们说这无法实现,这不能做到时,那么我们就会自我改变。我的大脑,它不能处理失败。如果我不得不坐在那里面对自己,告诉自己‘你是一个失败者’……这种感觉几乎比死亡更加糟糕。”

 

不看篮球都认识的这个名字──科比布莱恩特。你们想念他吗?

Posted at
Juventus dream turns into a nightmare for Kwang-song

World politics, and things beyond his control, have crushed the dreams of a young Asian footballer who was on the right path to stardom.

North Korean striker Han Kwang-song has gone from being coveted by Juventus to a player nobody wants to sign.

When he was just 19, Kwang-song’s talents had caught the attention of Italian club Cagliari, who took him on in 2017. He became the first North Korean to score a goal in Serie A with Cagliari.

After two successful loan spells with Perugia in Serie B, making 36 appearances and scoring 12 goals, the Serie A champions Juventus took notice of his special talents and signed him on loan in 2019. He made 20 appearances and scored a goal for the Juve Under-23 team in Serie C.

Then, it was thought that it was only a matter of time before the North Korean player’s path to the Juventus senior team would open up.

Juventus bought the player outright in 2020 but cruel fate forced them to almost immediately ditch him. Newly imposed United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea left Juventus with no choice but to sell Kwang-song to willing buyers Al-Duhail of Qatar for 5 million Euro.

He went on to play for Al-Duhail 10 times, including appearing in the Asian Champions League, and scored three times for the club. But his new adventure in the Middle East was also cut short after outside pressure forced Al-Duhail to stop playing him rather than face the accusation of helping to fund North Korea’s nuclear missile programme.

With no other football club willing to risk taking him onboard, Kwang-song has been left with only one option to further his football career – return home.

In the space of less than two years, a bright future in Europe with the most successful football team in Italy has turned into a nightmare for the unfortunate Kwang-song.

Posted at
阿斯纳维成首位征战K联赛的印尼球员

现年21岁的印尼后卫阿斯纳维·芒瓜拉姆,与K2联赛球队安山绿人签下了为期一年并附加续约一年选项的合约。

如此一来,阿斯纳维成为了首个征战K联赛的印尼球员,同时也是自越南的阮崇邦后,第二个征战K联赛的东南亚球员。

值得一提的是,此消息一出后安山绿人Instagram的追踪人数迅速暴增,从原本的五千人现已涨至近一万七千人。俱乐部更是开心的发帖感谢球迷们的关注,让他们成功累积破万的追踪人数。

虽然阿斯纳维本身具备着一定的实力,但此次能够顺利加盟,也得感谢韩国籍的印尼国家队主帅申台龙。在安山绿人犹豫不决是否要签下这位印尼小将时,申台龙大力推荐了自己的子弟兵。

这名主帅给出的评价是:“作为一名后卫,他很果断且拥有极强的意志力。他的能力足够征战K联赛了。他是一名很有天分的年轻球员,一直都有在为印尼U23和国家队效力。他是一名右后卫,同时也可以出任后腰的位置。他的防守能力很突出,进攻球员们都会发现要过掉他是很难的。”

Posted at
Myanmar champs Shan buy Success from rivals

Shan United are leaving no stones unturned in their quest for a third straight Myanmar National League title.

Not contented with just being the best team on the land, Shan have continued to strengthen to ensure they possess the best attacking options in the league.

The Myanmar League 2020 top scorer Raphael Success of Nigeria and the national team forward Than Paing are the latest attacking players to sign with the champions. They will join the national Under-23 striker Soe Lwin Lwin, who was signed earlier this month and another national team striker Zin Min Tun in the Shan squad.

Shan are obsessed with buying attacking players for the yet-to-begin 2021 season stems to prevent a repeat from last year, when their highest scorer was leftback Nanda Kyaw with eight goals. Min Tun, with seven strikes, was their highest scorer among the attacking players in the team.

The team management swooped on the Ayeryawady United forward Success, who turned in 16 goals to bag the top scorer’s award last year. The 22-year-old had also netted 10 goals for Ayeryawady the previous season.

The 24-year-old Than Paing, who is a mainstay with the Myanmar national team, joins from Yangon United after scoring six goals from them last season. A native of the Shan state in eastern Myanmar, where Shan United are based, Than Paing is excited about his “homecoming”.

With the four established attacking players in the squad, Shan will be even tougher to beat in the coming season. The main challenge to their hattrick quest is expected to come from last season’s second-placed finisher Hantharwady United, Ayeryawady and Yangon.

But both Ayeryawady and Yangon will face tougher challenges to keep up with Shan after losing their key attackers to the champions.

Although capturing a third straight league crown is their priority, Shan have also added more depth in their attack with an eye on the Asian Champions League competition.

In their two previous appearances at Asia’s premier club competition, they were knocked out in the first preliminary round. Filipino club Ceres (now known as United City FC), beat them on both occasions in 2018 and last year.

They face a tougher challenge this year, being drawn against Australia’s Melbourne City in the first preliminary round. The competition is expected to begin in March. 

Posted at
香川真司加盟希腊劲旅引两极化评论

根据多家媒体的报导,前多特蒙德和曼联球星香川真司已与希腊球队塞萨洛尼基达成协议,签下了为期1年半的合同。

现年31岁的香川真司是在去年10月和皇家萨拉戈萨提前解约后,便一直处于无球可踢的状态。当时,日职联球队大阪樱花向他发出了邀请,希望他会选择在阔别10年后再度回归母队。

然而,香川真司很快便婉拒了这个邀约,并在推特上发文表示自己想要继续留在欧洲踢球。结果,有不少球迷在推文下表示希望他能够重新考虑回归日职联。

如今,这位日本中场转战希腊超的消息一出后,直接激起了两极化的评论。虽然有不少球迷为他不必再面临无球可踢的情况而送上祝福,但也引起了一部分球迷的不解和失望。

“希腊?我们确实想看你踢球,但日职联真的有这么差吗?”、“大阪樱花一直都在等你回归,但你却做出这个选择?!”、“你已经在欧洲取得成功了,何必呢?我们在等待你衣锦还乡的一刻!”

Posted at
Kagawa taking a step down by playing in Greece?

News of Shinji Kagawa joining Greece first division side PAOK has not been well-received by all sections of the Japanese fans.

The 31-year-old attacking midfielder, who was once considered Japan’s best player in his prime, has signed a deal with the Greek club after being released by Real Zaragoza. The Spanish second division club had terminated the Japanese player’s contract after facing financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Playing in Greece will be a far cry from the time Kagawa became a household name with Borussia Dortmund in Germany and Manchester United in England.

It was reported in the Japanese media that Kagawa had been approached by his former club Cerezo Osaka to return to the J-League. But the player stated: “I still have something to do in Europe.”

He signed a one-and-a-half year’s contract with PAOK, which would keep him in Greece until the end of 2021/22 season.

This has not gone down well with his Japanese fans, who consider his latest move to be a step down in his glittering career. They feel it would have been better for Kagawa, who has a strong following in Japan, to return and play in the J-League with Cerezo.

Greece will be the fifth European country where Kagawa will play in after Germany, England, Turkey and Spain. He played for Turkish giants Besiktas on loan during his second spell with Dortmund.

Kagawa, who has won both the Bundesliga and Premier League titles, featured for Japan at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals as the Blue Samurais’ No.10.

At PAOK, Kagawa will play under former Real Madrid player Pablo Garcia, who had managed the Uruguay national team between 1997 and 2007. The 2018-19 Greek champions, who finished second last season, are currently fourth in the Greek top flight.

Posted at
朝鲜天才前锋从加盟尤文到无人问津,原因居然是?

现年22岁的韩光成,曾获得“朝鲜足坛的希望”以及“天才前锋”这样的美誉。在2019年加盟意甲豪门尤文图斯时的他更是一时风头无两。然而,如今他却沦落至没有球队敢收留他的下场,究竟是什么原因呢?

事实上,韩光成在18岁之龄就已经打响名堂,为卡利亚里效力的处子赛季就让他成为了首个征战意甲,以及在该联赛取得进球的朝鲜球员。此外,他被外租至意乙球队佩鲁贾时依旧发挥亮眼,两个赛季联赛出场36次,取得11个进球5次助攻,满满的天赋更是让他成功得到尤文的青睐。

19/20赛季加盟尤文后,韩光成就成为了U23队的主力成员,在意丙出场20次,取得1个进球和2次助攻。本以为可以在尤文逐渐成长的他,却遭遇了一个沉重的打击。由于联合国对韩光成的祖国朝鲜实施制裁,尤文不得不放弃了他,将其以700万欧元的转会费卖给卡塔尔的杜海勒。

尽管韩光成在加盟杜海勒后出场10次便取得3个进球,但他的噩梦并未就此结束。联合国颁布禁令,禁止朝鲜公民在国外工作,以防他们的收入成为资助朝鲜政府核武器计划的来源。

因此,韩光成的足球梦极有可能就此破碎。目前,他仅存的选择就是与杜海勒解约,并返回唯一能够允许他继续踢球的国家—朝鲜

Posted at
Triple joy as Yoshida scores first goal in Italy

There was a triple cause for celebration for Japan captain Maya Yoshida.

Just days after having his contract with Serie A club Sampdoria extended, the 32-year-old defender scored his first goal for the club during the 2-0 victory over Parma on Sunday (January 24).

And to cap off a fantastic week, Yoshida played an important role in the backline during the win to secure Sampdoria’s first clean sheet in 15 matches.

Playing at Parma’s Ennio Tardini Stadium, Yoshida became the first Asian player to score a goal for Sampdoria when he struck a stray ball into the net in the 25th minute. Winger Keita Balde doubled La Samp’s lead just before halftime.

"I'd like to get two more goals by the end of the season," said Yoshida after breaking his duck in Italy.

The goal and cleansheet were Yoshida’s way of instantly repaying Sampdoria’s trust in him when they extended his contract by a year until the end of 2021/22 season. The Japanese player had joined the Serie A club on loan from Premier League outfit Southampton in January 2020. The loan move was turned into a one-year contract before the start of the current season.

The goal against Parma was special because Yoshida rarely gets on the scoresheet. Prior to opening his account for Sampdoria, he has only found the net 16 times in a total of 279 appearances for Nagoya Grampus in Japan (5 goals), VVV Venlo in Holland (5) and Southampton (6) over 13 seasons.   

Despite getting a precious victory and a rare cleansheet, Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri was far from happy with his team’s overall performance.

The veteran Italian coach was particularly unhappy with his players for allowing Parma too much time on the ball and to create scoring chances.

“We allowed them to take too many shots in the first half. If we play like this in the next game (against champions Juventus), we will be in trouble,” said Ranieri.

“Juventus are coming up, we know they are in an excellent period of form and have incredible players, so we could well lose, but we have to try and play our game.”

The win allowed Sampdoria to move up to 10th in the Serie A standings on 26 points, well clear of the relegation zone but also not within touching distance of the leading pack led by AC Milan (43 points).

Juventus, whom Sampdoria play next at home on January 31, are currently fourth on 36 points.

Posted at