SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – Takefusa Kubo, who is only 21 years old, already has a lengthy football resume, despite the fact that the average fan might not immediately recognize his name.
Who among us can list Barcelona and Real Madrid as past clubs, after all?
However, after being forced to leave one LaLiga powerhouse owing to FIFA regulations and then struggling to break through at the other Spanish juggernaut, the Japanese attacker appears to have discovered Real Sociedad to be his spot to truly shine.
Despite only joining San Sebastian in the summer, Kubo has already started three of his new team’s four league games this year. Kubo made an early impression by scoring his debut goal in a 1-0 victory over Cadiz.
Takefusa Kubo scored the game’s lone goal in his debut as Real Sociedad overcame Cadiz back in August to open the new season and the most recent chapter of his career.
Takefusa Kubo put in a lively performance in Real Sociedad’s 1-0 Europa League victory over Manchester United on Thursday, continuing his strong start to life at the club.
One of Sociedad’s few threats to the United backline in the first 45 minutes, Kubo continued tormenting Victor Lindelof after the break as Sociedad gained control of the game. He was eventually replaced in the 78th minute with the visitors already in possession of the game-winning goal.
Kubo could have even set up an assist for Alexander Sorloth with a perfectly-whipped left-wing delivery had Lisandro Martinez not made a vital last-ditch save. His skill and poise in possession were on full display.
When taking into account the expectations placed on him based on the potential he displayed from a young age, such a performance should not come as a major surprise.
Kubo joined Barcelona’s renowned La Masia academy when he was just ten years old and went on to be a prolific scorer at the youth level.
Takefusa Kubo was invited to attend Barcelona’s renowned La Masia academy when he was eight years old, and ever since, he has been predicted to be the next great thing in Japanese football.
The outstanding prospect from Kawasaki had to return home when the Catalan club was found to have broken FIFA’s transfer restriction on signing international players under the age of 18.
At the age of 15 years and 10 months, Kubo became the youngest goal scorer in J1 League history after being quickly snatched up by FC Tokyo.
Despite being young, he managed to play regular first-team games, and it didn’t take long for him to reclaim the interest of the best clubs in Europe. In 2019, when Kubo was 18 years old, Real won the competition for his services.
Kubo never would have imagined that he would immediately push his way into the Los Blancos starting XI. He would have been hoping to finally get the chance to demonstrate his value, though, at the absolute least.
Takefusa Kubo spent time on Real Madrid’s books for the previous three years, although he never played in a competitive first-team match for Los Blancos instead spending time on loan at Mallorca, Villarreal, and Getafe.
As a result of being sent out on four different loan periods, Kubo basically started a mini-tour of Spain during the course of three seasons.
Some of them, like his debut game at Mallorca, when he scored four goals in 36 appearances, gave cause for hope.
Others, such as the half-season he spent with Villarreal, did little to advance his development because he was forced to the sidelines.
Kubo was once again on his way out of the Santiago Bernabeu back in the summer, but this time he was leaving for good after deciding to join Sociedad as a permanent move.
Even though he still had two years left on his Real deal, it was probably a bold decision on Kubo’s part to decide to try his luck somewhere else.
Not a bad choice, given that there is still room in Japan’s FIFA World Cup roster.
There are also far worse locations for him to have gone on given that Sociedad not only continues to give him exposure in one of Europe’s top leagues and continental football, but is also a squad that may be on the upswing again after three straight seasons in the top six.
Especially if Kubo does end up spending a considerable portion of his career at San Sebastian’s more modest surroundings, at least in comparison to Madrid or Barcelona, there would be no guilt in that, even when competing against his countrymen.
Every Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, who played for prominent European teams, had a Makoto Hasebe or Maya Yoshida who, despite playing for less prestigious teams, yet managed to carve out decent careers for themselves.
Kubo still has time on his side, as he is only 21. Additionally, as he showed against United on Thursday, he still has a lot of untapped potential.
While his periods at Barcelona and Real Madrid may not have gone as planned, perhaps Sociedad will be his chance to finally make an impact.