Make it to the Europa League


17 March 1989

Tarumi-ku, Kobe, Hyōgo, Japan

Attacking midfielder, first Japanese player to ever join Manchester United

“I can withstand the pressure, so I want to conquer it in its different forms and demonstrate that I have the power to win on the world stage.” Before Shinji Kagawa, who would have thought that one day a top Japanese player would make it to the Europa League, the holy land of football.

Shinji Kagawa, who started playing football from the age of 5, was probably just one of many young people who dreamed of being a professional football player when they grew up. He is already a champion competing on the world stage, and shows natural talent, as well as unparalleled dedication and passion.

Shinji Kagawa was the first Japanese player to ever join Manchester United, a team idolized by football players the world over. He is still the only Japanese player ever to have been handpicked for both England’s premier league and Germany’s Bundesliga.

Born in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture in 1989, Shinji Kagawa joined Cerezo Osaka at the young age of 17, straight out of high school. This was his debut into the J.League. In 2010 he relocated to Germany after receiving an offer from Borussia Dortmund, part of the German Bundesliga. He experienced not only the harsh battles fought on the field within Germany early in his first season, but also the intensity of the all-out battles in the glorious arena that is the Europa League. Even here he faced off with powerful players without fear, and steadily built up a list of achievements. He was also a favorite of the local media, and was passionately supported by the fans. And then, with progress begetting more progress, in 2012 he became the first Japanese person to join Manchester United in the English Premier League. This achievement resonated throughout the football world in Japan, and it’s no exaggeration to say that he has cleared the way for Japanese players to join the prestigious European leagues.

In 2014 he returned back to where it all started in Europe, re-joining Borussia Dortmund. Here he exhibited his strength as a midfielder, having properly polished his offensive abilities as a goal-scorer.From last season he is now back to number 23. This is the number given to him when he first joined, and from a time when the team had two victories in a row, and has fueled expectations for further progress.From his first call in 2008, Shinji Kagawa is one of the indispensable player of the Japan national team, Samurai Blue. Keeping his nerves under pressure, he never loses an occasion to collect the ball and with a flurry of step-overs go straight to the goal of his opponent.

Shinji Kagawa

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