September 29, 2023
″Go after Benfica or FC Porto…″

″Go after Benfica or FC Porto…″

18-year-old midfielder, Kotaro Nagata is not intimidated by his short stature and believes he will make it in European football. He arrived at Oliveirense in August but has his eyes on FC Porto and Benfica

Kotaro Nagata is experiencing his first experience as a football player outside of Japan. The 18-year-old player arrived in Oliveira de Azeméis at the end of August to sign for Oliveirense and now, in his presentation to the fans, Kotaro Nagata spoke about his experience and his goal of reaching the Oliveirense main team and contributing to the team’s victories in the II League. For now, the young man has already made his debut with the unionist shirt, but playing for the Under-19s, in the 2nd National Division. The young international has Shoya Nakajima as a reference, the Japanese player who played for FC Porto. “They say I’m similar to him and I have his style of play as a reference, nimbly getting underneath opponents, like he did in Portugal.”

Nagata comes from the Yokohama FC youth team and arrives at Oliveirense on loan from that club with whom he signed a professional contract and began by revealing that he has always admired the J-League (Japanese League), but he did not hide that his goal has always been playing outside of Japan. “I’m determined to be successful. I know there are many people who fail, but I believe that courage and confidence are important to be successful and that’s why I accepted the challenge”, explained the confident midfielder that his 158cm height and 55kg weight will not be an impediment to his success in the world of football. “I understand that it is difficult to be successful internationally when you are small, so I need to work hard to achieve this. I will have to try to be the best in the world in the art of nimbly undercutting bigger players, otherwise I will not be able to stay. That will be my weapon, So I think I can say with confidence that I can do it.”

Comparing Japanese football with European football, the young man highlights “intensity” as the big difference. “In European football, players, instead of using ball passes to advance, use their “individuality” and dribbling to progress on the field, so I think it’s important to get used to that style of football”, added Kotaro Nagata , who sees his time at Oliveirense as a “challenge” and makes no secret of the fact that he wants to reach “the top”. “My goal will also be to start by going after clubs like Benfica or FC Porto. From then on, my goal will be to play in the Champions League, so I would like to move on to the big international clubs”, said the midfielder.

For now at Oliveirense, the international for Japan’s youth teams wants to reach the main team and contribute to the victories of Fábio Pereira’s team in the II League. “I haven’t set any specific number for number of goals, but when I enter a game, I want to be able to play an active role and above all help the team,” said the player.

“There is no electric cooker to cook rice”

The new experience in football terms also brought another challenge in the personal life of Kotaro Nagata, who for the first time is living alone and does not have his mother present to cook him meals. “I’m the one who cooks my meals. I think I’m doing well because I’m also cooking with nutritional aspects in mind in my own way. I haven’t yet bought an electric cooker to cook rice, so I’ve been cooking pasta in a normal pan. My specialty is carbonara, which I make frequently”, said the young man.

The Kazu Miura reference

Kotaro Nagata is the second player from Japan to join the team led by Fábio Pereira. The 18-year-old admits that the presence of Japanese legend Kazu Miura in the Oliveira de Azeméis emblem, as well as other Japanese on the unionist staff, gave him more confidence to accept coming to Oliveirense. In training, the Japanese “veteran” – the oldest player to play in Portuguese professional leagues – is an inspiration for Nagata. “Miura is the one who prepares the most before training, and if he does it, then someone like me, at 18 years old, not even doing it if I want to is an option for me. It’s being a good stimulus and, without a doubt, a reference” , recognized the young midfielder.

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