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Real Madrid Starlet In Japan Olympics Squad

South Africa’s U23 side will face Real Madrid starlet Takefusa Kubo at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kubo is the standout player in the squad of the host nation, who will kick off their tournament against David Notoane’s men.

The 20-year-old, who is former product of FC Barcelona’s famed ‘La Masia’ academy, joined Los Blancos in 2019 but has since thrice gone out on loan.

He made 37 appearances for Getafe last season, scoring two goals and assisting in another four but has now returned to Real for pre-season.

Kubo wrote headlines recently when he nutmegged four players to score in a 4-0 win over Jamaica.

The other notable players in Japan’s squad are overaged stars Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai and Wataru Endo.

Right-back Sakai played for Olympique Marseille over the last five years but returned to his home country this window when he joined Urawa Reds. Yoshida, who is currently on the books of Serie A side Sampdoria, is well-known from his eight years at Premier League side Southampton. Meanwhile, Endo is playing for Bundesliga side VFB Stuttgart.

Overall, Japan’s squad is worth €77.75 million (R1.3 billion), which is more than six times as much as SA’s selection with €12.13 million (R200 million), according to Transfermarkt.

Japan will open the Tokyo Olympics against South Africa on 22 July.

Below is Japan’s Olympics squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Keisuke Osaka, Kosei Tani, Zion Suzuki

Defenders: Hiroki Sakai*, Maya Yoshida*, Yuta Nakayama, Ko Itakura,, Reo Hatate, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Daiki Hashioka, Ayumu Seko, Koki Machida

Midfielders: Takefusa Kubo, Wataru Endo*, Koji Miyoshi, Ritsu Doan, Kaoru Mitoma, Yuki Soma, Ao Tanaka

Forwards: Daizen Maeda, Ayase Ueda, Daichi Hayashi

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