TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tributes poured in from the Japanese soccer world Thursday following the dying of famous person Diego Maradona, who thrilled followers within the nation over the course of a number of visits.
The Argentine, who died aged 60 of a coronary heart assault at his house within the suburbs of Buenos Aires on Wednesday, led his nation to the FIFA World Youth Championship title in Japan in 1979.
He returned three years later with membership facet Boca Juniors for a pleasant in opposition to the Japanese nationwide crew.
That match starring Maradona, then a diminutive teenager with a particular expertise for overhead kicks, made an indelible impression on opposing midfielder Kazushi Kimura.
“For the primary time, I assumed ‘This participant is best than me.’ He was a particular participant for somebody of my technology,” mentioned 62-year-old Kimura.
Defender Hisashi Kato additionally performed within the sport and described the left-footed playmaker as “from a distinct planet.”
“He did issues with out trying. He did not give us any clues and left us questioning how he may make the passes he did,” Kato recollects. “It was as if he had eyes throughout his physique.”
Yasuhiko Okudera, the primary Japanese participant to win the German Bundesliga title with Cologne in 1978, mentioned Maradona’s “dribbles have been unstoppable.”
Whereas present Argentine famous person Lionel Messi has drawn comparisons with Maradona as a result of his resemblance in taking part in type and most popular foot, former Japan ahead Hiromi Hara believes Maradona “had an even bigger impression.”
“He was wild and a maverick. However that is what drew us to him,” he mentioned, recalling Maradona fearlessly taking over a number of opponents without delay.
“Everybody was attempting to repeat the distinctive approach he saved possession of the ball. Everybody needed to be Maradona.”
Left-footed former Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura spent numerous hours as a boy watching tapes of Maradona, aiming to emulate his dribbling and trademark free kicks.
“I nonetheless watch these movies typically. He was what I aspired to be. I will preserve attempting to get to his stage for so long as I play soccer, even when I can solely get a little bit bit nearer,” mentioned the 42-year-old midfielder, nonetheless going robust with Yokohama FC within the J-League high flight.
Japanese soccer icon Kazuyoshi Miura, the 53-year-old teammate of Nakamura, shared his condolences in an announcement from Yokohama FC.
“Thanks for the whole lot you probably did for soccer,” he mentioned.