Takumi Minamino: A profile of the Ligue 1 and Asian Cup star
Takumi Minamino: The Rising Star of Japanese Football
Takumi Minamino is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Ligue 1 club Monaco and the Japan national team. He is known for his pace, dribbling, creativity, and finishing skills. He has won several trophies and awards in his career, including the Austrian Bundesliga, the Austrian Cup, the Premier League, the AFC Asian Cup runner-up, and the AFC U-23 Championship winner. He has also represented Japan at various youth and senior levels, scoring 17 goals in 47 appearances so far.
Early life and career
Minamino was born in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, on 16 January 1995. He started playing football at a local club called Sessel Kumatori when he was in elementary school. He was inspired by the Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who was the top scorer at the 2002 FIFA World Cup which Japan co-hosted when Minamino was seven. He would watch videos of Ronaldo's feints and practice them in a car park with his older brother Kenta.
He joined Cerezo Osaka's youth team at age 12 and progressed through the academy. He made his senior debut for Cerezo in 2012, becoming the youngest player to score in the J.League Division 1 at 18 years old. He played 62 games and scored seven goals for Cerezo, earning the J.League Rookie of the Year award in 2013.
Move to Europe
In January 2015, Minamino moved to Austria to join Red Bull Salzburg, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Shinji Kagawa who had played for Cerezo before moving to Europe. He signed a four-year contract with Salzburg for a fee of 800,000.
He quickly established himself as a key player for Salzburg, helping them win six consecutive league titles and four domestic cups. He also impressed in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, scoring against teams like Liverpool, Napoli, Celtic, and Real Sociedad. He made 199 appearances and scored 64 goals for Salzburg in all competitions.
Transfer to Liverpool
In December 2019, Minamino agreed to join Liverpool, the reigning European champions and Premier League leaders, for a fee of 8.5 million. He became the first Japanese player to sign for Liverpool and wore the number 18 shirt.
He made his debut for Liverpool on 5 January 2020 in an FA Cup match against Everton, becoming the ninth player from Asia to play in the competition. He won his first trophy with Liverpool on 21 June 2020 when they clinched their first league title in 30 years.
However, he struggled to get regular playing time at Liverpool due to the fierce competition and high expectations. He scored four goals in 30 games for Liverpool, mostly as a substitute or in cup matches.
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Loan to Southampton
In February 2021, Minamino joined Southampton on loan until the end of the season. He said he wanted to play more games and show his abilities in the Premier League.
He made an immediate impact for Southampton, scoring on his debut against Newcastle United, becoming the first Japanese player to score on his Premier League debut. He added another goal in his next game against Chelsea, but his loan spell was disrupted by injuries and COVID-19. He played 10 games and scored two goals for Southampton.
Permanent switch to Monaco
In June 2022, Minamino completed a permanent transfer to Monaco for a fee of around 15.4 million, signing a four-year contract with the Ligue 1 club. He said he was attracted by the club's ambition and style of play, and hoped to help them challenge for titles and compete in Europe.
He made his debut for Monaco on 6 August 2022 in a 2-1 win over Strasbourg, and scored his first goal for the club on 18 September 2022 in a 3-0 win over Reims. He has become a regular starter for Monaco under manager Niko Kovac, playing in various attacking positions. He has scored one goal and provided four assists in 18 league games so far.
Minamino has represented Japan at various youth and senior levels, winning the AFC U-23 Championship in 2016 and finishing as the runner-up at the AFC Asian Cup in 2019. He made his senior debut for Japan on 13 October 2015 in a friendly match against Iran, and scored his first goal on 24 March 2016 in a World Cup qualifier against Afghanistan.
He was part of the Japan squad that reached the final of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, scoring two goals in the tournament. He also played at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scoring one goal in four games as Japan reached the round of 16. He is currently Japan's joint-third highest scorer with 17 goals in 47 appearances.
Takumi Minamino is a talented and versatile footballer who has shown his quality and potential in different leagues and competitions. He has won several trophies and awards in his career, and has been a key player for both his club and country. He is still young and has room to improve and grow as a player. He is one of the rising stars of Japanese football and has a bright future ahead of him.
What is Takumi Minamino's nickname?
Takumi Minamino's nickname is Taki, which is a shortened version of his first name. His teammates and fans often call him by this name.
What is Takumi Minamino's salary?
Takumi Minamino's salary is reported to be around 60,000 per week at Monaco, which is equivalent to about 3.1 million per year.
What is Takumi Minamino's preferred foot?
Takumi Minamino is right-footed, but he can also use his left foot well. He has scored goals with both feet in his career.
Who is Takumi Minamino's idol?
Takumi Minamino's idol is Ronaldo, the Brazilian legend who won two World Cups and was one of the best strikers of all time. Minamino admired Ronaldo's skills and style of play since he was a child.
What are Takumi Minamino's hobbies?
Takumi Minamino enjoys playing video games, watching movies, reading books, and listening to music in his spare time. He also likes to travel and learn about different cultures.