06/19/2021 6:00 AM
Updated 06/19/2021 6:00 AM
Some classified him as a diamond in the rough and even compared him to Lionel Messi.
The truth is that, despite having just turned 20, his football career has already gone through several ups and downs.
While he belongs to Real Madrid, although his future is uncertain,
surprised the world last Saturday with an anthological goal for the Japan Olympic team that included four consecutive pipes.
Born on June 4 in the city of
, between the popular Tokyo and Yokohama, he began to glimpse friends and strangers since he was little.
Barcelona laid eyes on him when he was just eight years old and he was starting to shine in his country, although the signing ended up being counterproductive.
More than 10 thousand kilometers separated Kubo from the maximum dream of any child: playing in
, the culé seedbed.
Oscar Hernández, coach of the club's children's categories, was the one who discovered it and did not hesitate.
He saw a fast, smart and deadly player in one-on-one.
But, before the signing, there was a transcendent test: a friendly tournament in Belgium.
And the result exceeded all expectations.
He was chosen as the best player
in the competition.
The hope for this impudent midfielder was so great that he began to play with older teammates.
Although Barcelona signed him in 2008 at the age of “youngest” (9 to 10 years old), he was directly incorporated into the “alevín” category (11-12).
, as he likes to be called,
played in the juniors until 2015 and left
His departure was linked to a great obstacle that arose from an extra-football issue.
In April 2014, when Kubo was 12 years old, the Catalan club was sanctioned by FIFA for violating the international transfer policy for young people under 18, which meant that Kubo could not play any more matches until he came of age.
It was of little use to be called
"the Japanese Messi"
for his incredible dribbling at the time of leaving rivals on the road and the speed that permeated his showy game as a left-handed hitch.
Being from outside the EU, he could not play in Barcelona until 2019.
Then, he surely made one of the most painful decisions of his short but promising career. Together with his family, tired of not being able to progress, they returned to Japan.
That is how, in March 2015, he joined the
and, two years later, made his official debut in Primera.
At the age of 15 years and 11 months, he began his journey in the Japanese league and was also the youngest player to represent his country at the U-20 World Cup in Korea.
Then he had a loan transfer to
, one of the strongest clubs.
But if Barcelona had already shown interest in him, why not another powerful player from Spain like Real Madrid.
So it was.
Florentino Pérez opened his wallet, won the race against the Blaugrana club and PSG, another of the fascinated ones, and
made the White House his new home.
The entity of the Spanish capital paid a transfer of two million euros and put on the table an offer, according to the newspaper
, of 1.2 million euros net per year.
According to experts in the field, a salary for a first-team player in the League, despite the fact that he was going to make his first weapons at Real Madrid Castilla, from Second B.
Another fact: the
assured him for the future with a rescission clause of
250 million euros
Before joining the most winning club in the Champions League, Kubo had already made his presentation with the senior team, on June 9, 2019, in a friendly against Nicaragua.
Thanks to his performance in recent months, he received the payroll to be part of the 23 summoned to play the Copa América in Brazil.
Yes, the skilled left-hander was a member of the Asian team that was invited to the continental tournament, making him the youngest player in the tournament.
And he even started as a starter in the three matches of his group, against Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador.
Kubo facing Gary Medel, of the Chilean team, in the Copa América 2019. Photo: Reuters
"Being called the Japanese Messi is an honor and it makes me proud, but
I'm not at his level yet
, so I prefer to focus on my skills and strengths," he told the press in fluent Spanish during his stay in São Paulo, where he concentrated with Japan.
Upon returning to Spain, he joined the ranks of
and was led by the historic
"The first Real Madrid subsidiary will have one of the most promising young players in world football. An offensive midfielder with excellent technique, very skilled, with vision of the game, great dribbling and goal," announced the institution on June 14.
With the illusion of being taken into account quickly in the first team and thus being able to share a roster with great figures such as Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema - as
a year ago - Kubo surprised by appearing unexpectedly in the first preseason practices in Canada together with those directed, at that time, by Zinedine Zidane.
The Spanish press pointed out that Kubo monopolized all the spotlights, even more than Eden Hazard, the star reinforcement of that season at the white club.
"I watched your videos before the games", were the words of the talented young man for the Belgian, in a funny talk that the club uploaded to Twitter.
📼✨😀 What is the secret of Kubo's tricks?
He tells you himself together with @ hazardeden10! #RealMadridIsHere #RMTour pic.twitter.com/WrE9pwdPAE
- Real Madrid CF (@realmadrid) July 15, 2019
However, as Real Madrid had announced on his arrival, the former Barça went down to play Second B with Castilla.
And after a year, without the option of a place for foreigners, the White House gave it to
so that it could be filmed in the League.
With Mallorca, where he left a great memory, he faced Messi, with whom they compare him.
It did not take long for him to justify all the media expectations generated by his return to the country.
In a club that usually fights in the lower zone of the table, he gained the title quickly and played regularly until he was loaned to Villarreal, who played the Europa League of which he ended up being champion last month.
Despite scoring a goal in the group stage debut against Sivasspor in October last year, manager
did not use it much on court.
In total, he played nineteen games, but just 687 minutes, that is, just over half an hour on average.
Villarreal was until now the most important team where he played in the League, although Emery did not give continuity.
The lack of continuity and a more leading role even caused its market value to fall by almost half, from 30 to 15 million euros in the last year, according to a report by the newspaper
It was in January of this year when Real Madrid then decided that the Japanese would go to
until the end of the season.
He started well, but did not fit into a tactic marked by balance.
Although he screamed the goal that saved the team from losing the category on the penultimate date, he did not accumulate the desired time either.
Kubo, against his former team.
In April, wearing the Getafe shirt, he faced Barcelona.
What will happen in this pass market?
What will happen in this pass market?
, the return of Mallorca to First appears as an opportunity for the Japanese after having left a good image.
Espanyol and Betis, two clubs with greater economic resources, were also interested.
And Real Madrid?
And Real Madrid?
The arrival of Carlo Ancelotti to the bank and the
to have foreigners in the main squad would again close the doors of the first team.
Vinicius still does not have nationality and, although he expects it in the coming months, there are no extra-community gaps so far.
Kubo scored an anthological goal of four consecutive shots in a friendly against Jamaica.
The truth is that the Olympic Games will be a good option so that
can show himself and return to that level that amazed and aroused the interest of the great powers.
For now, in a friendly, it already gave to talk.
It was on Saturday, when he opened the U23 team's 4-0 win against Jamaica in a preparatory friendly.
The defense slept on the side and the skilled striker escaped to the right.
He faced for the middle to be outlined and took a shot that passed between the legs of three rivals and the goalkeeper.
Yes, a crazy goal with four pipes in a row.
Next Tuesday, the local team will debut in Tokyo 2020 against South Africa in Group A, which is also made up of France and Mexico.
A good performance by Kubo could arouse the interest of Europe's majors, as it did long ago.
At the moment, the contract with Madrid remains in force until 2025.
Nominated for "Golden Boy"
announced on Tuesday the candidates for the 2021 edition of the
"Golden Boy" award
, an annual trophy that the Italian sports newspaper has given since 2003 to the best European soccer player under 21 years of age.
Messi (2005) and Agüero (2007) were the two Argentines who won this award, considered the Ballon d'Or for young people who play in the First Division.
Last year, it was taken by Norwegian star Erling Haaland.
In December, will it be Kubo's turn?
Video: Japan made an incredible goal with four consecutive pipes
Kazu Miura, the oldest footballer in the world who "wants to die on a pitch"