Honda joins AC Milan
There's been rumors going around for a year that Keisuke Honda would play in Serie A. At last that was realized. The 27 year old held a news conference on Jan 8 at his new home stadium. He drew many local and international media. He said he believes "he will be able to give something special to the team." Honda played for 4 years with CSKA Moscow. He's been given number 10. He played his first game on Jan 12 against Sassuolo in Reggio nell'Emilia, but lost the game 3 to 4. On Jan 15, he started against Spezia and kicked in his team's 3rd goal to beat Spezia 3 to 1.
Hat trick by Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa was playing quietly with the Manchester United until 2 March. Against Norsich City he played a great combination with Wayne Rooney for a hat-trick. He's become the first Asian to achieve such a feat in the Premier League. Manchester United won 4 to 0.
Kagawa signs with Manchester United
It's a big move for 23 year old Shinji Kagawa. After successfully playing with Dortmund, he was sought by Manchester United. He unveiled after returning to Japan on 23 June that he signed a 4 year contract. On Jul 12, he held a news conference in Manchester with Alex Ferguson.
Asian Cup stars signs with big clubs
Right after the Asian Cup in Qatar on Jan 29, following Samurai Blue's victory, Shinji Okazaki flew into Berlin. He signed with Bundeliga's VfB Stuttgart on a free transfer from Shimizu S Pulse with the J. League for a contract until 2014. Then on Jan 31, Yuta Nagatomo signed with Italy Serie A's Inter on loan from Cesena.
Kagawa with Dortmund
Shinji Kagawa was practically unknown until he signed with German Bundesliga's Borussia Dortmund in July and played in all 17 games. He had 8 goals securing his place as a main player on the team. And with the achievement he earned the national team's star number, that is number 10 which until the last World Cup was worn by Shunsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura is player of the year
It was a day of great joy for Celtic's Shunsuke Nakamura on Apr 22. His free kick gave his team a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock. And he was also named Scottish Professional Footballers' Association's Player of the Year. It's the first such feat for a Japanese player.
Nakamura's feat in Champions League
Shunsuka Nakamura of the Celtics aimed for the goal in the 65th minute of the game against Manchester United. It's on Nov 22 in Scotland. It was blocked. But he made a historic goal. Nakamura's free kick made a perflect loop into the edge of the goal. It was in the 81st minute. And with that, the Celtics won 1 to 0, and advanced to the 2nd round of the Champions League.
Nakamura achieves hat trick
Just before the first half of the game was ending, Shunsuke Nakamura goaled an equalizer on Oct 14. It's against Dundee United. And that wasn't all. He goaled in the 48th and the 58th minute to help Celtic win 4 to 1.
Nakamura is league champion
In the 5th game in a row Shunsuke Nakamura took part from the start on Apr 5, his team defeated Hearts 1 to 0 in the Scottish league to win the league title.
Oguro achieves hat trick
Masashi Oguro who's with Grenoble of the French second division achieved a feat on Apr 3. He headed in a goal in the 16th minute, and 2 more goals. His team defeated Bastia 5 to 1.
Nakamura joins Celtic
On July 29, Shunsuke Nakamura held a press conference announcing he's signed with the Scottish league's Celtic. He will wear number 25. It's a 3 year contract.
Takahara goals twice
On Feb 6 in German's Bundesliga, Naohiro Takahara goaled with his left. It was in the 31st minute. Then in the later half, he shoot the ball in too. He helped Hamburg SV defeat FC Nuremberg 3 to 1.
Okubo to play in Spain
It was announced on Nov 8 that Cerezo Osaka's striker, Yoshito Okubo will be on a 6 month loan to Spain league's Majorca. The 22-year old will start playing on Dec 16.
Naohiro Takahara on Sept 26 goaled twice for Hamburg SV. He's given his team a 2 to 1 win over Hertha Berlin.
Inamoto to return to Osaka
Junichi Inamoto will play with his former Japanese team Gamba Osaka. The word came out of July 29, after unsuccessful negotiations on his contract with teams in Europe.
Yanagisawa to join FC Messina
It was learned on June 30, that Atsushi Yanagisawa will be loaned out to Serie A's FC Messina from the Kashima Antlers for one year starting July 1. He played for Sampdoria but was unable to contribute.
It was in the later half of the match on Dec 16, Naohiro Takahara of Hamburg SV handed in a goal. It was for his team it's 2nd goal. But, the team was later equalized by Eintracht Frankfurt. Hamburg managed to clinch the game by a goal in the 40th minute in the later half. It's 3 to 2.
Inamoto's historic goal
On Oct 25, Fulham faced Manchester United. Junichi Inamoto played for Fulham from the 32nd minute of the game. It was in the 78th minute, Inamoto kicked in a goal to secure his team's 3 to 1 win. Not only that. It's the first time in 39 years that Fulham beat Manchester United.
Ono goals at last
In the Netherlands, it was 8 minutes into the later half of the game on Sept 28, Shinji Ono kicked in a goal. Then in the 26th minute, he goaled again. His team, Feyenoord beat Zwolle 3 to 0. It's been since Dec 2002 that Ono has goaled.
Inamoto goals in season opener
It appeared Junichi Inamoto of Fulham made a big boo boo, not being able to get the ball as he positioned himself near his enemy's goal. But in the 53rd minute, he recovered that flop and kicked in a goal. It was the 2nd for his team. And on Aug 16, Fulham beat Middlesborough 3 to 2.
Suzuki announces move to Heusden
Japanese national team member Takayuki Suzuki who played for Genk said in Kashima on Aug 5 that he will play for Belgium's Heusden until next June.
Takahara goals in German League Cup Final
Hamburg SV scored first on July 29 and in the 17 minute, Naohiro Takahara kicked in a goal. In the end his team beat Borussia Dortmund 4 to 2.
Yanagisawa joins Sampdoria
On July 15, Atsushi Yanagisawa attended a press conference in Genoa to formally announce he's with Sampdoria for a year.He will wear number 13 again as he did with the Kashima Antlers.
Yanagisawa to Italian league
Kashima Antlers announced on June 25, its striker Atsushi Yanagisawa will be leased to Italy's Serie A's Sampdoria for 1 year. The team will pay Antlers 350,000 dollars, and another 45,000 dollars in annual wage. There is an option after a year to acquire Yanagisawa completely.
Takahara's game winning goal
Naohiro Takahara was called into the game on Mar 15 in the later half. The game was tied, and in the 87th minute, Takahara headed in a goal. His team won 3 to 1 over Schalke.
Takahara goals off Kahn
Naohiro Takahara of Hamburg SV, faced Bayern Hamburg on Feb 9. And the goalkeeper, of course, Oliver Kahn. Takahara's team was behind, but as the game was about to end, he headed in a goal. It ended Kahn's no goal loss record which was started after losing his last goal on Nov 9 in 2002. For Takahara it's his first goal in the Bundesliga.
Takahara joins Hamburg
Naohiro Takahara arrived in Hamburg on Jan 3, and held his first practice with the Bundesliga team. 23 year old striker was acquired from Jubilo Iwata for 250 million yen. He got a 2.5 year contract, and his annual income 60 million yen.
2 goals for Ono
Only 2 minutes into the game on Dec 15, Ono with a long shoot goaled. Then in the later half, 40 minutes into it, he headed in. It's been 3 months since he's last succeeded in 2 goals in a game. Feyenoord smashed Alkmaar 6 to 1.
Japanese face eachother in Italy
For the first time Hidetoshi Nakata of Parma faced a team with another Japanese in Serie A. It's Shunsuke Nakamura with Reggina. But Hide's team was more in control. Parma defeated Reggina 2 to 0. Nakamura meawhile was taken out of the game in the final part of the match. The match was not only viewed closely by Japanese fans. Japan's national team coach Zico was at the stadium in person.
Ono and Nakamura stand out
Feyenoord's Shinji Ono had a goal on Nov 17, and his team defeated PSV 1 to 2. Shunsuke Nakamura kicked in a goal, and assisted a goal, but Reggina lost to Empori 2 to 4.
Ono succeeds penalty kick and more
In the 65th minut on Nov 10, Ono kicked in a penalty. And that's not all. Just 3 minutes later, he set up the ball, leading to Mariano Bombarda's header. Feyenoord had a 2-0 victory over FC Zwolle.
It was in the 63rd minute on Nov 3, Shinji Ono nets 3rd goal of the season to help his team win 2 to 0 over Groningen
Suzuki's first assist
Takayuki Suzuki of Genk joined the game 27 minutes into the later half of the game against Mons Oct 27. Just 10 minutes after that, he passed the ball to break the tie. Genk won 2 to 1.
Nakamura makes Italian League debut
On Sept 15, Shunsuke Nakamura who joined Reggina this season played in the first game of Serie A. He went for the goal several times but didn't quite make it. Reggina lost to Perugia 0 to 2.
On Sept 22, close to the end of the match, Nakamura kicked in a PK. However,Inter Milan with Alvaro Recoba's goal in just about a minute after won the game 2 to 1.
Ono in action in Dutch League
Shinji Ono headed in his first goal this season in the league on Sept 14. He also kicked in the team's 3rd goal, and assisted one to contribute to the team's 5 to 1 win over FC Twente Enschede.
Inamoto's first Premier League goal
Japan's wonder boy showed he was more than that on Sept 11. In the 68th minute, with his right he kicked in a goal. It was the first for his team. Moreover, he's become the first Japanese to goal in the English Premier League. In the end his team had a 3 to 2 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Then on Sept 14, in the 34th minute, Inamoto goaled, and assisted 2 more goals for his team's 3 to 0 win over Sunderland.
Ono goals plus Inamoto hat tricks
Junichi Inamoto put on an enormous show on Aug 27. He scored in the first 12th minute completing a one-two pass. Then in the later half he had 2 more goals. Fulham beat Bologna 3 to 1 thanks to Inamoto. The team won a berth to the UEFA Cup. Meanwhile Shinji Ono kicked in Feyenoord's first goal against Turkish team Fenerbahce. Feyenoord beat the opponent 2 to 0. His team qualified to the Champions League.
Santos fails to get permit
It was confirmed on Aug 28 that Santos will not be able to obtain a working permit in England as he does not meet the requirment to play there. So it was decided he'd return to Japan and play with Shimizu S Pulse again.
Santos to join Charlton
It was confirmed on Aug 22 that Japanese- turned -Brazilian Alessandro Santos will join Charlton in the Premier League. It's reported that he will completely leave Shimizu S Pulse for his new team. His annual income is expected to be 144 billion yen. But a worrisome report on Aug 28. That Santos is unable to win a visa to play in England due to lack of number of games he's played on the Japan national team.
Japanese players officially debut in European leagues
On Aug 17, Junichi Inamoto became the first Japanese to play in the English Premier League. He was on in the later half of the game. His team Fulham beat Bolton 4 to 1. In the Netherlands Shinji Ono on Aug 18 supported his team to help defeat NEC 2 to 0. Takayuki Suzuki with Genk played against Antwerp The same day, Sunsuke Nakamura with Reggina in the 16 the minute kicked in a goal with his right foot. Reggina won 3 to 0
Ono takes team to victory and Inamoto a draw
Midfielder Shinji Ono kicked in a decisive goal with his left to take Netherlands Feyenoord to a 1 to 0 victory over Turkey's Fenerbahce on Aug 13. It's in the first-leg of the third-round qualifying match for the Champion League. He dribbled the ball near the goal and did a one-two pass with Pierre van Hooijdonk. Junichi Inamoto with Fulham who was on in the later half, took the ball into the goal on his own for a tie with Bologna in the first leg of the Intertoto final. The game ended a 2 to 2 draw.
Suzuki leaves for Belgium
Japan national team forward Takayuki Suzuki left for Belgium on July 16 to join last league champion, Genk. It was only on July 12 that Suzuki had learned about the offer, so it was a rushed departure. Suzuki scored Japan's first goal in the World Cup Korea/Japan. He's expected to undergo medical tests for 2 days after arrival and then join the team.
Inamoto reaches agreement with Fulham
It was learned on July 15 that Junichi Inamoto, top scorer of Japan's national team at the World Cup Korea Japan will join Fulham in England's Premier League. Inamoto has left for England about a week ago saying that he has to collect his belongings as he was leaving Arsenal with which he did not get to play once.
Shunsuke to join Regina
It was learned on July 2, that Yokohama F Marinos Shunsuke Nakamura has agreed to join Reggina of the Italian League Serie A. He had a 10 hour meeting with Regina officials the previous day. The 24 year old striker was not selected on the World Cup 2002 national team due to an injury. Before that it was reported that Real Madrid was interested in Shunsuke. But since his failure to make the national team Real Madrid dropped the idea. He's to wear number 10 with Regina.
Ono plays in UEFA Cup final
Feyenoord faced Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Cup final in Rotterdam on May 7. Midfielder Shinji Ono assisted the 3rd goal for his team to defeat the opponent 3 to 2. It the 2nd time his team wins the UEFA Cup title and of course, the first for Ono.
Ono scores and assists
The game on Mar 11 gave Feyenoord an overwhelming win over the AZ Alkamaar. Feyenoord won 4 goals to one. And 22 year old Shinji Ono kicked in the team's 2nd goal. It was in the 31st minute.
Takahara leaves Boca
Naohiro Takahara was back in Japan on Feb 8 after quitting Boca Juniors. He said he was ready for the World Cup.
Ono gives Feyenoord a win
It was late in the game on Nov 22, the 82nd minute that Shinji Ono controlled a pass from Ebi Smolarek and kicked it into the goal. With this Feyenoord defeated SC Freiburg 1 to 0.
Kawaguchi joins English League
Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi left the Yokohama F Marinos to join English first-division side Portsmouth on Oct. 23. And the following day he gave a press conference and said that he wished to become a popular player. The 26 year old goalkeeper made an estimated 1.7 million pound move for a 3 year contract.
Ono's first goal
Shinji Ono was back starting with Feyenoord for the first time in a month on Oct 14 after playing with Japan's national team. He showed some great passes, but most eyecatching was 10 minutes into the later half. He goaled with his skinhead. He played a full game too, contributing to his team's 1 to 0 victory over FC Groningen.
Takahara's first goal
In Argentina, Naohiro Takahara kicked in his first goal this season on Sept 23. And his team overwhelmed Lanus 6 to 1.
Ono starts and contributes
Shinji Ono for the first time started with the Feyenoord on Sept 8. He helped the team make 2 goals. And his team defeated NEC 3 to 0.
Inamoto goals with Arsenal
Junichi Inamoto who had joined Aresenal of English Premier League scored his team's 4th goal against Tottenham in the FA Reserve League at Underhill Stadium on Sept. 3. Arsenal beat Tottenham 4-0. For Inamoto, it's his first goal with Arsenal.
Ono's 3rd game
Ono played even longer for the Feyenoord on Aug 26. He got to play from the beginning of the later half, to face the famous Ajax. He went for the goal a couple of times, for the first time. But the ball couldn't make it inside. Feyenoord lost to Ajax 1 to 2.
Ono's 2nd game
Ono played the 2nd game for the Feyenoord too on Aug 22. The team faced Roda JC. He got to play 22 minutes of the game this time. Again he was controlling the ball well. One of his passes had lead to his team's PK, which made the goal. His team won 2 to 0.
Overseas official debut
Naohiro Takahara as a member of Boca Juniors had a tough debut. His team lost 1 to 3 to Belgrano de Cordoba. Shinji Ono with Feyenoord Rotterdam played well, although he was given only 10 minutes in the latter half of the game to play. He helped the team achieve the 4th goal with a soft pass, and he was credited for assisting the 5th goal. It was a 5 to 0 win over Sparta
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