When it comes to Asia’s best player to play in Europe, England is the place to start.
In England we saw the progression of United wonder-kids Ji-Sung Park and Shinji Kagawa.
In recent times we have had Heung-Min Son rising up the ranks in Spurs, considering the amount of work he’s done in the FA Cup.
Of their times in the Premiership, Park and Kagawa definitely had the more glistening careers, Son being in a struggling Spurs side.
Now these lads are good, but are they the best Asian’s to play in Europe?
We now head to early 2000’s Celtic;
A young Japanese talent, wanted by Athletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and even Leeds! However Shunsuke Nakamura signed for Celtic.
Nakamura did not have a glistening start to his Celtic career, however he got the engine purring in his second season, which is when he banged two frees in against United with Van De Sar in between the sticks.
Nakamura won 3 Scottish League Titles, 3 Scottish Cups and many more personal trophies in his time at the club. He then made a move to Espanyol, before going back to Japan.
In my opinion he is currently the best player to play in Europe with Kagawa at a close second. Japan is producing some great growth in the potential of their national team for the near future, with youngsters like Uchida, Hasebe, Mito, and others coming up the ranks in the German Bundesliga. They seem to be following in the footsteps of Shinji Kagawa who also developed as a player by heading from England to Germany.
Son is by far my favourite of these Asians, but Nakamura is currently the best, I don’t think it will last long enough for him alas we have the Japanese coming in with a chance of having the best Asian national team to ever come, if they produce a talented keeper they will be brilliant.
My personal opinion would dictate that the recent gains in talented players in China could lead to the Chinese team having a boom in the growth rate of their football players’ talent levels. This could render my opinion on Japan’s team moot, but I don’t think that the Chinese will advance that quickly. This means we could see Japan be the first Asian team to escape World Cup group stages since the early 2000’s when Korea did so.
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