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Keisuke Honda

Keisuke Honda biography
Photo: Tommaso Fornoni / CC BY 3.0

Keisuke Honda biography

Keisuke Honda (June 13, 1986) professional soccer player, current midfielder of the Pachuca Soccer Club of the First Division of Mexico. He was born in Settsu, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Since he was a child Honda was fascinated by soccer, a sport that in his country is not very common. His first starts were when he passed the tests to play with FC Settsu, a local club. He was only eight years old. He was there until he moved to the junior category and started training with the youth team, but after a while, he had some problems with the club and decided to quit to join Seiryo Secondary School in Ishikawa Prefecture, where he started playing in the school team that had a great level.

However, Honda was one of the key players, his participation was decisive for the team to reach the semifinal stage of the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament for the first time as representative of the Prefecture of Ishikawa. The young man was recognized as a major player by the J. League and the Japanese Football Association in 2004. Honda was compared to Seisuke Kanou who played for AC Milan in the anime Hungry Heart Wild Striker. When he finished his studies Honda played in the VVV Venlo; Dutch soccer club of the city of Venlo in Limburg.

Thanks to his great performances in this team, several coaches of European soccer teams such as AFC Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Everton FC, and Liverpool FC began to speculate on some interest in having the services of the Japanese player in their teams. But, at the beginning nothing was concluded, so, by the end of 2009, Honda was transferred to the PFC CSKA Moscow of the Premier League of Russia, his signing had a value of € 9 million, and was signed for 4 years.

Honda made his debut with CSKA Moscow in the round of 16 of the Champions League, in a game against Sevilla. The first 90 minutes had ended in a 1-1 draw in Russia, and the Spaniards, therefore, were favorites. However, Honda surprisingly scored the first goal of his team and then thanks to a free-kick execution the game was sentenced 2-1 and victory. This day the sports press took several headlines, wrote several columns and exalted the skill of the player.

In short, Keisuke Honda became the first Japanese footballer to see the door in the knockout stages of the highest European club competition. However, his game in the quarterfinals was admired for his power and effectiveness, although CSKA Moscow was defeated by the minimum difference in the aggregate score against Inter Milan, a team that would later be crowned tournament champion. But, although the competition ended the praise did not. The coach of Inter at that time, Jose Mourinho and Ruud Gullit praised him for his great ability to play football.

He continued to play and triumph at CSKA Moscow until 2013 when, at the end of the 2013 season, after several negotiations, the hiring of Honda by the general manager of Milan for 4 seasons was publicly confirmed. The Japanese star received the number 10 on his shirt. Honda’s first goal was on January 15, 2014, in the Tim Cup against the team of Spezia Calcio 1906. In the second season the fans saw him doing the right-back position, this by the direction of Dutch coach Clarence Seedorf.

Now, for the year 2017 and after a good participation in the European team, Honda is hired by the Central American team Pachuca de Mexico football club. He made his debut in the Liga MX on August 22 against the Red Sharks of Veracruz scoring his first goal at minute 73. Despite being a player who is already 30 years old, his performance is exceptional and really still has a lot of talent to give. Although at first, his game was not very effective and not showy either. But it was a matter of time because, in the Club World Cup, in which the Mexicans reached the semifinals, he showed some touches of his talent.

At present, Diego Alonso, his coach, is very satisfied with the performances of the Japanese, he really feels that he was the perfect signing to replace the player Hirving Lozano who was hired by a team in Europe. To Alonso, Honda is a player who can take responsibility and easily shows himself as a leader capable of guiding young players. The rebirth of Keisuke in Mexico is a fact. Honda has excelled in the 2005 U-20 World Cup, the 2008 Summer Olympics, and the 2010 World Cup.

He has played in the U-23 national team, achieving the qualification for the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. That same year he was named one of the midfielders to represent Japan in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, his team was last in its group. He made his international debut with the Japan national football team on June 22, 2008, in a World Cup qualifiers match against the Bahrain national football team. He has scored a goal to the National Soccer Team of Chile at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka Prefecture. Honda was summoned by coach Takeshi Okada to play in the 2010 Soccer World Cup held in South Africa.

His performance earned him the Best Player of the Match award against Cameroon. Honda was the relief player after moving to the round of 16 with a good performance against Denmark in the last game of the group stage. His score was surprising, he achieved it after a powerful shot of more than 30 yards. In addition, he attended the last goal after a spectacular individual play. He was highly praised by critics for his performance in the competition, being chosen by many as one of the best players in the group stage, for some journalists as Arsene Wenger was the best player in the tournament.

Although his dream ended in the round of 16, after losing to Paraguay: 5-3 in penalties. Subsequently, Honda was called again to play the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Japanese player has made three goals in the world cups and is Japan’s top scorer in the history of the world cup. Finally, we must say that he is a very skillful, fast and effective player who although he plays in the midfield has also been seen developing positions as left and front side. In fact, this is the position he usually plays at in the absolute national football team of his country.

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