Isn’t it nice to see elite teams like Real Madrid championing their young stars who are currently away on international duty at the Olympics?
Every time we see a social media post from a top club boasting about one of their youngster’s performances over in Tokyo, a deluded part of our brain thinks ‘this might mean they’re going to give them a chance next season’ – then we realise we’re living in dream world.
Well, at least that’s the case with Los Blancos and Takefusa Kubo.
The La Liga giants have been shouting from the rooftops about the displays of Kubo at this summer’s games, with 20-year-old notching in every one of his side’s three outings at the tournament so far.
What’s perhaps even more impressive about the Japan international’s showings is that each of his three strikes have displayed a totally different side to his game – further demonstrating he’s a player who could genuinely be of use to Real next season.
The youngster’s first strike of the tournament handed his side a winning start in their opener against South Africa, showing superb awareness to run in behind the defence while the rest of his teammates and the opposition were stood still waiting for a throw to be taken.
Having collected the ball on the right-hand side of pitch, he then did well to create a yard of space by cutting inside onto his favoured left foot before firing the ball through the legs of South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams – it actually nutmegged four players in total but we’re not quite giving him credit for meaning to do that.
His second goal of the tournament came in the following game against Mexico, this time cutting in from the left and showing a burst of speed to elude his marker before prodding home, while his latest goal against France was all about pure poacher’s instinct as he followed in to fire home a rebound.
Since moving to Real from FC Tokyo in 2019 Kubo hasn’t been offered so much as a sniff of first-team action, with Los Blancos immediately taking the opportunity to ship him out on loan.
The Japan international has enjoyed temporary spells at Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe, and despite now having gained valuable experience in La Liga, a further temporary spell away from the club looks to be in the offing.
Given Kubo’s evident talent and eye for goal, the only criticism which could possibly be levelled at him with regards to why he doesn’t deserve a shot under Carlo Ancelotti is his lack of experience.
However, with two seasons in Spain under his belt and Real’s squad possessing a number of players who were handed their chance having gained less experience than Kubo, we honestly believe he deserves a shot.
The Japan international’s adaptability could prove to be a big asset to Ancelotti – proving he’s a threat in the wide areas as well as in behind a frontman – yet with a wealth of talent including Eden Hazard, Vinicius Junior, Lucas Vazquez, Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and the returning Gareth Bale to contend with, his chances look slimmer than ever.
Not only does Kubo stand little to no chance of being given the opportunity to impress Ancelotti, there’s also the issue of Real even registering him.
The aforementioned Brazilian duo Vinicius and Rodrygo along with countryman Eder Militao are currently allocated Real’s permitted three non-EU spots.
As a non-EU player himself, Kubo could score a hat-trick in every game he plays at this summer’s Olympics and he’s still not going to be handed one of Real’s three non-EU spots in the squad, meaning a loan move looks even more likely.
Given his stellar performances over the past week it’s a shame to think Kubo won’t be given the chance to shine at Real in their 2021/22 campaign, but their loss is another club’s gain and hopefully he showcases his talents elsewhere once again next season.