One player that’s turning heads at the World Cup is Japan’s Shinji Kagawa. Here’s what you need to know about this impressive midfielder.
1. Shinji Kagawa Plays for Japan’s National Team at the World Cup
Kagawa has been a football star in Japan since he was a teenager. The New York Times notes that Kagawa was the first Japanese player to sign a professional contract before leaving high school. The first pro team he played for was Cerezo Osaka. This is his first World Cup appearance, having failed to make the cut for the 2010 Word Cup in South Africa.
The Guardian noted earlier this week that Kagawa has struggled a bit at the 2014 World Cup:
“The 25-year-old had a World Cup debut to forget against Ivory Coast, struggling to make an impact against the full-back Serge Aurier, who took advantage of Kagawa’s defensive frailties to go forward and set up both goals in a 2-1 comeback win on Sunday.
Unable to hold up the ball or link with Japan’s central playmaker, Keisuke Honda, Kagawa was replaced by Yoichiro Kakitani in the final minutes of the Group C match.”
2. Shinji Kagawa Plays For Manchester United
Kagawa is the first Japanese player to join the Machester United team. Kagawa has played football for Man U since 2012. In March of this year, it was rumored that Kagawa would leave Manchester for Internazionale Milano.
3. Shinji Kagawa Used to Play for a German Team
After his time in Osaka, and prior to his debut at Man U, Kagawa played for the German club Borussia Dortmund. You can see an image of him in his Borussia Dortmund kit above.
Bleacher Report, along with some other media outlets, have wondered if Shinji Kagawa’s move from Germany to the UK was a smart move. In an article entitled “Should Shinji Kagawa Have Stayed at Dortmund and Not Joined Manchester United?,” Bleacher Report’s Stefan Bienkowski wrote:
“[Before his transfer] Kagawa had just come off what was the season of a lifetime with 24 goals and 16 assists in just 57 games, and he was foreseen by many as the poster boy of Dortmund’s bright new future as an outward-looking club that could harness the best talent from around the globe…
The Japanese international hasn’t exactly thrived in England, leading to many fans and critics alike questioning whether the young playmaker should have made the move in the first place. “
4. Kagawa the 2012 Asian Football Confederation International Player of the Year
In 2012, shortly after transferring from Dortmunder to Man U, the AFC recognized Kagawa for his achievements. The AFC noted:
“The superb run of form of Japanese international Shinji Kagawa for his previous club Borussia Dortmund and his high profile transfer to English giant Manchester United has made him the first-ever AFC International Player of Year.
The skilful midfielder had a successful season in Dortmund’s double winning campaign which prompted Manchester United to reach an agreement with the German champions in June which sealed his 17 million pound dream move to England.”
5. Shinji Kagawa Was Falsely Rumored to Be Dating Porn Star Ameri Ichinose
Complex notes that in 2012, Kagawa was falsely reported to have been dating a Japanese porn star, Ameri Ichinose. Kagawa was reportedly photographed with porn star Ichinose. However, the woman in the photo was actually Margaret Natsuki, who happens to look a bit like the infamous porn star.