When Real Madrid signed a young Japanese footballer Takefusa Kubo at the start of July, we couldn’t help but wonder who he is and why is the 18-year-old nobody suddenly a part of the most successful European football team. There were a lot of confused faces when Takefusa Kubo arrived at the Los Blancos, and there were even more confused looks when he finally showcased why Real Madrid decided to sign him. From a footballer who nobody heard of before to one of the most promising players of our time, Takefusa Kubo has earned himself a nickname of “new Messi” at a young age and is proving us just why he got the nickname and why he just might keep it for years to come.
Who is Takefusa Kubo?
Takefusa Kubo, a name that did not pop up in the football too often up until this season, nonetheless, a name that was on the radar of some of the biggest clubs in the world for several years. As a promising young talent, Takefusa Kubo was signed by Barcelona at only age of 10, when they saw a huge potential in him and saw him as a future star that could one day replace Messi. With a lot of expectations put into the young Japanese footballer even at such a young age, he got a nickname of “new Messi” as he was considered to be the future Camp Nou star once the Catalans loose Messi to retirement.
Despite all the hopes put into Takefusa Kubo, he found himself back in Japan 4 years after joining Barcelona youth academy and remained there since then. Since joining FC Tokyo in 2015, Takefusa Kubo worked his way up the ranks and soon found himself playing for the senior team. In fact, he was only 15 years 5 months and 1 day of age when he joined FC Tokyo senior team, meaning, he became the youngest player to play in J1 League in the league’s history. Only 5 months later, he also became the youngest J1 League goalscorer. While impressive achievements, he did not get much playtime with the squad, who rather decided to loan him out to Yokohama F. Marinos where he continued to train alongside professionals, which gave him the much-needed experience to finally be considered a starter once he returned back to FC Tokyo in 2019.
In this season alone Takefusa Kubo played a total of 16 matches for FC Tokyo and contributed 4 goals and 4 assists. While nowhere near record-breaking numbers, the young prodigy has impressed everyone with his performances and was even named as one of the best teenage talents in the world. With that in mind, it should not come off as a surprise he was spotted by some of the biggest clubs, however, it was Real Madrid who in the end managed to steal the so-called “new Messi” from their opposition.
That alone is a huge blow for Barcelona, who have reportedly told Takefusa Kubo after he left Spain that they will keep an eye on him and his progression and are looking forward to signing him once he develops. While losing such a promising young footballer is a disaster on its own, losing it to your biggest rival makes the whole situation much worse.
Can Takefusa Kubo become the “new Messi”?
His potential to play on the top level was merely speculation several weeks ago but changed into reality this week, when Real Madrid played against Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid did end up losing 3:7, however, the result was not the only thing that stood out on that day. It was Takefusa Kubo, who was given a chance to impress Zidane when he was sent on the pitch in 61st minute and did just that. While he did not manage to score a goal on that day, he did manage to impress everyone with his work rate and incredible skill. Kubo even got rated as the best Real Madrid player of the match by the Real Madrid fans, who made it clear they are happy to have such a talent as a part of their team.
Where will the future take the 17-year-old prodigy is still a huge mystery. He himself admitted he still needs time to develop, however, is determined to give his all to reach his full potential one day. His mindset is also one of the main things he was praised for, and while the right mindset is only half of what a true football star has to have, it’s the most important half which can make or break a football career. The new Messi, new Ronaldo or however you like to call it, Takefusa Kubo is surely one of the players we will look forward to keeping an eye on and hopefully see him develop into a true superstar.