Zinedine Zidane has overseen Real Madrid’s first pre-season friendly of the year against Bayern Munich and the French coach has much to mull over, such as Takefusa Kubo’s skill and fame.
Having made his mark on the Copa America with Japan, the former Barcelona prodigy impressed his coach in the 3-1 defeat in Houston. Whilst those inside Valdebebas knew of the talent they were signing, few anticipated just how much of an immediate impact he would be able to make. His very first touch of the ball showed his turn of pace and a confidence that comes with a natural ability to take defenders on.
Zidane watched closely from the bench and he may have been thinking that a year with Castilla in the Spanish third tier may not be the best environment for his development.
Those in Japan have hyped up Kubo for a long time, especially when he made his initial move to Spain as the next great Asian star, yet this reputation was largely confined to the Far East.
But now, with audiences seeing his displays in the Copa America and in Houston, people all over the world have had a chance to see Kubo play.
“There is a lot of focus placed on me, and I don’t really like that,” Kubo admitted after the loss to Bayern.
“I’m very happy about my debut with Real Madrid, even though we lost and I always hate losing.
“My goal is to help the team as much as possible.”
Gathered Japanese journalists were curious to see how the playmaker would be received by the Europeans watching, and after the match there were many who sought out their Asian colleagues to find out more about the 18-year-old.
It’s clear that Kubo‘s fame is growing, and he could hit even more worldwide headlines if he shines against Arsenal in the next pre-season match.