The men’s football in Tokyo 2020 has been fascinating till now as the competition would enter the quarterfinal stages from today. In the group stages, there had been some outstanding performers and Japan and Real Madrid’s Takefusa Kubo is one of them.

He has been in outstanding form as Japan have surged into the quarter-finals after victories in all three of their Group A matches, against France, Mexico, and South Africa respectively.

This leaves Real Madrid with a decision to make. Having looked to sell the Japanese star this summer, Los Blancos could now reconsider this stance and instead keep him at the club.

Also read:  Takefusa Kubo of Japan and Real Madrid is expected to impress in Tokyo 2020 

At the Olympics, Kubo has looked an entirely different player to the one who struggled on loan at Villarreal and Getafe – Kubo has been like a jokey needing to get back in the saddle.

He has shown qualities that other players at the club have been lacking in previous seasons, such as the exceptional dribbling skills that impressed the critics very much. He played with a lot more intent and freedom and he has not been just a mere forward who would wander around and look for the opportunity to score, rather, he has linked the midfield with the forward.

“The quality of Kubo is something that special players can bring, something more, like the high-level players do, like Lionel Messi, like Neymar, like Kylian Mbappe,” former Japan coach Philippe Troussier said.

“He has the quality to make a difference individually. He’s a quick player who can make good assists, can score goals. He’s so interesting. He has this individual quality to make the difference.”

But before Japan embarked upon their quest for the first Olympic medal since winning bronze in 1968, Kubo’s talents had yet to be put on regular display despite all his promise.

What’s more, Kubo has shown his goalscoring prowess this summer, with three goals in Japan’s Olympics campaign so far, and this is an area that Real Madrid need to improve on next season.

Life on Real’s books, though, has not been smooth. Kubo has been loaned out three times in the last two seasons, to Real Mallorca, Villarreal, and Getafe with varying degrees of success.

Despite those issues, he has become a mainstay of Japan’s Olympic team while also making his senior team debut and his performances in the group phase have highlighted his qualities, both individually and as part of the collective.

“I don’t think much of it. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Kubo said after scoring against the French.

“Whether it’s me or anyone else on the team, I’m happy when we score. It’s good I’ve been able to help the team, but I’m only a spoke on the wheel, a cog in a ladder of the team.”

At present, five Real Madrid players count as being non-European Union (non-EU) members: Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes, Eder Militao, Gareth Bale, and Kubo.

Militao has grown into a pivotal player for Real Madrid and Rodrygo is a player that Florentino Perez has huge hopes for in the future. Then, this season could see Gareth Bale being given another opportunity by Ancelotti, having produced some of the best football of his career under the Italian coach.

Vinicius is in the process of applying for dual nationality and there is optimism over this, but that would still leave four non-EU players for three spots – assuming that a post-Brexit solution can’t be found for Bale.


While it currently appears difficult for Kubo to find a place in the Real Madrid side this season, his form at the Olympics has been so good that his club may try to keep him for Ancelotti’s squad.

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