At the age of simply 21, Takefusa Kubo has already compiled fairly the footballing resume — even when he might not be an immediately recognisable title to the common fan.
But having been compelled to go away one LaLiga powerhouse attributable to FIFA guidelines after which struggling to make a breakthrough on the different Spanish big, the Japanese attacker seems to have lastly discovered the place for him to shine in Real Sociedad.
Having solely moved to San Sebastian in the summertime, Kubo made an instantaneous influence by scoring a debut purpose in a 1-0 win over Cadiz and has began three of his new membership’s 4 league video games thus far within the new season.
On Thursday night, below the brilliant European lights at Old Trafford, he was as soon as once more spectacular as Sociedad opened their Europa League campaign by beating Manchester United 1-0 — their first victory in opposition to English opposition ever.
Having been one of many few threats to the United backline within the opening 45, Kubo went on to torment Victor Lindelof — shifted to right-back following the halftime exit of Diogo Dalot – after the break as Sociedad grew into the sport, till he was changed within the 78th minute with the guests already in possession of what would show to be the winner.
With his talent and composure in possession on full show, Kubo might even have laid on an help for Alexander Sorloth with a perfectly-whipped left-wing supply however for a vital last-ditch intervention from Lisandro Martinez.
Such a efficiency shouldn’t come as an enormous shock when contemplating the expectations on him primarily based on the potential he confirmed from a younger age.
When he was simply ten, Kubo accepted an invite to hitch Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy and would go on to be a prolific scorer at youth stage.
However, when the Catalan outfit was discovered to have violated FIFA’s switch coverage on signing worldwide gamers beneath the age of 18, their prodigious expertise from Kawasaki was compelled to return dwelling.
Playing common first-team soccer regardless of his tender years, it didn’t take lengthy for him to as soon as once more appeal to the eye of Europe’s largest golf equipment.
In 2019, with Kubo now 18, it was Real who received the race for his providers.
Kubo would by no means have been anticipating to power his means into the Los Blancos beginning XI immediately.
What he would have been hoping for although — on the very least — can be to finally have an opportunity to show his value.
Three seasons got here and went with Kubo successfully embarking on a mini-tour of Spain, as he was shipped out on 4 totally different mortgage spells.
Some, just like the very first at Mallorca — the place he netted 4 instances in 36 appearances, gave purpose for optimism.
Others, just like the half-season he spent at Villarreal, hardly did his growth any good as he discovered himself on the periphery.
Back in the summertime, Kubo was on his means out of the Santiago Bernabeu as soon as extra — however this time for good as he determined to hitch Sociedad on a everlasting switch.
It was arguably a courageous transfer contemplating he nonetheless had two years remaining on his contract with Real, however Kubo clearly believed it was the fitting time to strive his luck elsewhere.
There are additionally far worse locations to have moved on to, with Sociedad nonetheless providing him publicity in one among Europe’s prime leagues together with continental soccer, but additionally being a crew which might be doubtlessly on the rise once more with consecutive top-six finishes up to now three campaigns.
Even if Kubo does go on to spend a big quantity of his profession within the humbler environment of San Sebastian, a minimum of when in comparison with Madrid or Barcelona, there would hardly be any disgrace in that — even when matching up in opposition to his compatriots.
For each Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda that plied their commerce for main European groups, there was a Makoto Hasebe or Maya Yoshida, who nonetheless carved out respectable careers for themselves regardless of turning out for less-illustrious outfits.
Still, at simply 21, Kubo has time on his aspect. And as he confirmed in opposition to United on Thursday, he additionally nonetheless has loads of potential to be unlocked.
While his stints with Barcelona and Real Madrid won’t have gone in accordance with plan, maybe — at Sociedad — it’s lastly time for him to make his mark.