Former Espanyol boss Javier Aguirre has told of his reasons for leaving the club last summer to become Japan national team Coach.
Aguirre took over at Cornella in November 2013 with Los Periquitos bottom of La Liga and, having steered his team to safety six months later, he was widely expected to continue in the role.
However, the experienced 55-year-old’s career took an unexpected twist when he was named new Japan supremo in July, replacing Alberto Zaccheroni who resigned and retired following the World Cup in Brazil.
“Contact was first made in 2010. After that World Cup [in South Africa] the Japanese FA sought me out, but at that point my youngest son was still at school and we couldn’t leave Spain,” revealed the Mexican in an exclusive interview with fifa.com.
“Then, four years later, they revived their interest after I’d already told Espanyol I wouldn’t be staying. Signing a new contract would have been difficult because there was hardly any money to strengthen the squad, so I decided to step aside.
“I had a few offers to stay in Europe but I wanted to broaden my horizons – and that’s when Japan came back on the scene.”
Aguirre says he is enjoying life in Japan and has been impressed with the culture in the Far East.
“I’ve been struck by the deep respect shown to people. Even in Press conferences the level of order is impeccable. It’s really striking how friendly people are to you.
“Tokyo is a metropolis with millions of inhabitants and you’d imagine it to be crazy, but the quality of life is incredible. Everything is kept really clean and it’s very orderly, which is a big help when it comes to progress.
“We feel very at ease here. It’s true there is a language barrier but we’ll try and ease that by learning a few words and being able to understand the basics.
“I’ve come here with my wife and one of my children and he’s helping me with the language.”