Real Zaragoza’s Shinji Kagawa believes his Japan international teammate Takefusa Kubo will have a successful career at Real Madrid.
The two are part of a growing contingent of Japanese players in Spanish football including Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Okazaki (Huesca), Gaku Shibasaki (Deportivo) and Louis Yamaguchi (Extremadura) .
The attack-minded Kubo 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 has featured in nine matches this season in La Liga.
“Yes, he has a very high level,” Kagawa is cited as saying by Marca, when quizzed on Kubo.
“He also speaks Spanish because he spent time at the youth team in Barcelona and that helps him a lot now. I think he can play well at Real Madrid.
“He has so much potential and is very intelligent on the pitch, but he always makes the right decisions at the right time.”