Every year, it seems the media claims a young footballer to be the “[insert nationality of player] Messi”. That is once again the claim this year as ESPN has labelled Real Madrid’s latest transfer signing Takefusa Kubo as the “Japanese Messi”.
Kubo joins Real Madrid from Japanese team FC Tokyo, where he has played since 2016. The attacking midfielder is just 18-years old and will be the second bright young prospect Real Madrid have signed in as many years.
Who is Takefusa Kubo?
Real Madrid are in the midst of a major makeover. Los Blancos have signed Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic to lead their forward line next season. The duo will join teen sensation Vinicius Jr, who is destined for a break out year.
But it is Kubo’s announced signing on Friday that has raise eyebrows around the world. Kubo will start out with Real Madrid Castilla, aka Real Madrid B, and could get promoted to the first team next season. Vinicius Jr also started with Real Madrid Castilla last season before earning playing time in the first team.
Kubo is playing with the Japanese national team this month in Brazil at the Copa America tournament. The attacking midfielder made his senior debut earlier this month and could play a prominent role with the team at the Copa America competition.
Takefusa Kubo is a player for the future
Real Madrid’s former Castilla starlet Martin Odegaard is a cautionary tale of a youth player signed to major club only to stagnate.
Kubo has already experienced the highs of a giant Spanish club. The Japanese midfielder played in Barcelona’s academy between the ages of nine and 13. His time in Barcelona was cut short when the Catalans were found guilty of illegally signing him.
After returning to Japan, Kubo joined FC Tokyo where he played for the clubs under-23 and senior squads. Remarkably, Kubo joined the senior side at just 15-years old.
Whether Kubo succeeds at Real Madrid is unknown. He will have the chance to ease into the club by playing with Real Madrid Castilla first.
Kubo’s five-year, €2 million transfer shows young, promising players can still be snapped up by the big clubs. Now, he has to prove his worth.