Meet The 'Japanese Messi' Who Is Wanted By Real Madrid, Barcelona And Man City
Meet 18-year-old forward Takefusa Kubo, the extremely talented forward destined to make his senior national team debut after being named in Japan's latest Copa America squad.
And after making 30 appearances last season, he has naturally attracted the interest of Europe's biggest clubs, including Real Madrid, Manchester City and former club Barcelona.
But things haven't all been smooth sailing in his eventful career to date.
Takefusa Kubo turns 18 today!- FootballTalentScout (@FTalentScout) June 4, 2019
:white_check_mark:30 games, 6 goals & 4 assists for FC Tokyo
:white_check_mark:6 games, 1 goal & 1 assist for Yokohama F. Marinos
:white_check_mark:4 years in La Masia
:white_check_mark:first senior international call-up
:white_check_mark:nicknamed the 'Japanese Messi'
Potential to become the best Asian player ever. HBD, Take! pic.twitter.com/zHlxVMcYhV
Kubo was forced to leave Barca after they were hit with a transfer ban in 2015.
He spent four years in the famed La Masia, and was prolific for their academy sides, scoring 74 goals in 30 games for the U11 side.
But after being promoted to the U14 team, the youngster was eventually transferred to J League side FC Tokyo after being deemed ineligible to play for the Catalan giants.
Barcelona were found to have violated FIFA's international policy for U18 youths and as a result, the club had to say goodbye to arguably their biggest prospect.
But four years on from that incident, Kubo is now available for transfer after turning 18 earlier this week and plenty are interested in his services, including his former club.
Spanish publication AS claim that Real Madrid have also entered the race to sign Kubo, while Manchester City are also monitoring his situation.
MARCA: Real Madrid & PSG both interested in :flag_jp: Takefusa Kubo who could leave Tokyo FC after turning 18 this summer. He's one of the kids whose underage signings led to Barcelona being sanctioned by FIFA. According to the player's camp he has a commitment to return to Barca. pic.twitter.com/vA1wETipiT- M•A•J (@Ultra_Suristic) April 13, 2019
Back in 2017, Kubo hit the headlines after scoring a goal Lionel Messi would have been proud of.
He rinsed two players down the left flank and despite looking like he was going down a blind alley, managed to work an opening and fire a venomous shot into the top corner.
This goal meant he became the youngest ever scorer in professional football in Japan.
Remember the name.