Takefusa Kubo has explained he opted to join Real Madrid this summer because they ‘had a plan for my career’.
The attack-minded player spent four years in the Blaugrana’s La Masia youth academy but had to leave the club in 2015 when Barcelona were sanctioned for signing underage players illegally.
Kubo, who has been nicknamed ‘the Japanese Messi’, then signed for FC Tokyo but he celebrated his 18th birthday this summer and was subsequently available to return to European football - with Madrid pouncing.
The Japan Under-20 international was said to have caught the attention of sporting directors of ‘Europe’s biggest clubs’, including Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
Kubo subsequently joined newly-promoted Real Mallorca on a season long loan arrangement, and looks set to face Los Blancos when the two sides clash this weekend.
“I really liked Real Madrid's intention in the sporting aspect, the plan they had for me during the following years, what they thought for me in the future,” Kubo explained in an interview with Marca.
“Madrid loved me with great insistence. They showed me the plan they had for my career and I really liked it, that convinced me.
“In the end the decision (to go on loan to Real Mallorca) is always made by the player, but first my agent and I talked to the club and decided it was the best.
“Although they are a newly promoted they are a club with a lot of history. I remember that Mallorca was always in La Liga. I think that more than I contribute to Mallorca, it is Mallorca that can bring many things to me so that I can grow. But I will try to help the team a lot, of course.
“Madrid are big in Japan? Yes, but not only in Japan, it happens all over the world. I could see it this summer on the tour. Wherever you go, in any country there are a lot of fans with the white shirt.
“There are still journalists who call me that (the Japanese Messi). It's an honour to be compared to a player as big as Messi, but I still have a lot to be like him someday.”
Kubo netted six goals across 30 appearances for former club FC Tokyo and has featured for Mallorca six times this season, starting twice in La Liga.