In recent years, a large number of footballers who have succeeded in the European elite have decided to leave for more western Asia. Many have arrived in China, but many others have made a somewhat longer trip to play the J-League, the Japanese first division. Footballers who were talked about a lot and who were called up with their national team and who, since they arrived in Japan, disappeared from the football map.
Only players like Andrés Iniesta or Fernando Torres have continued with media appearances since their departure to the J-League. These are the soccer players who disappeared in Japanese territory:
David Villa achieved something impossible for many in Spain, he went to MLS and continued to appear in the media and in the sports news. The Asturian, in fact, stood out as a scorer and came to be called up to the Spanish team. However, since he signed for Vissel Kobe, he has only been talked about to announce his retirement.
Did you know that Jô played in the Japanese league? The striker who went through Everton or Manchester City decided to have adventures and in Asian football and, while playing in the Emirates or China, he was still taken into account. However, his stint at Nagoya Grampus ended his international career. He has returned to Corinthians.
The European Championship has reminded us football fans that Thomas Vermaelen is still active. The Belgian defender left Barcelona to play for Vissel Kobe and, had it not been for his national team, we would never have heard from him again, or at least about his sports career.
Víctor Ibarbo, Colombian striker who excelled at Atlético Nacional and emigrated to Europe. He went through teams such as Roma, Cagliari or Watford, but in 2017 he decided to embark on the Japanese adventure. He has played for Sagan Tosu and Nagasaki.
Did you know that Lukas Podolski is still active? The footballer, after passing through clubs like Bayern, Arsenal or Inter, went to Galatasaray and, starting in Turkey, we lost track of him. He went to Vissel Kobe and, believe it or not, he has returned to Europe. Now he plays for the Polish Gornik Zabrze.
Sergi Samper was knocking on the doors of Barcelona’s first team. The footballer lived a situation similar to that of Riqui Puig, but decided to go to play in Japan with Andrés Iniesta.