There are some serious ballers playing in Japan

5 forgotten ballers we can’t believe are still playing in Japan: Kagawa, Gomis…

Former Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan stars are among the forgotten ballers who are still going strong in Japan today.

The J1 League is one of the most competitive football divisions in Asia and plenty of big names have make an impact in the league during the last few decades.

Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres and David Villa are just some of the superstars who have played in the J1 League in recent years gone by.

We’ve taken a closer look at the Japanese top flight and have found five forgotten ballers who are still strutting their stuff today.

Shinji Kagawa

Kagawa only spent two years in England, but he quickly established himself as a cult hero at Old Trafford. The Japanese playmaker won the Premier League during his debut season at United and produced a handful of memorable moments.

Although he’s undoubtedly best known for his time with Borussia Dortmund where he racked up over 200 appearances during his two stints with the club.

Fans of Kagawa will be pleased to know that he’s still producing the goods at the age of 35. Last year, he re-joined boyhood club Cerezo Osaka and he’s still got some magic left in his boots yet.

Bafetimbi Gomis

Fondly remembered for his unique celebration, the former Swansea City and Lyon forward is still playing to this day at the ripe old age of 38.

Following some stints in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Gomis joined Kawasaki Frontale last year on a contract which is valid until 2025.

The French forward is yet to score in 16 appearances for the Japanese club, although he has managed three assists. Fingers crossed his first goal is coming soon.

Ryo Miyaichi

“He has a raw ability which has attracted many clubs around the world.”

That’s what Arsene Wenger said back in 2011 when Arsenal signed the Japanese winger back in 2011. His raw pace and trickery was obvious to see from the off, although his career in England never really took off.

Injuries have plagued Miyaichi for most of his professional career and they seemed to hamper his progress during his early days in England especially.

The winger left Arsenal in 2015 having only made seven senior appearances, but thankfully he’s managed to get his career back on track in his native country.

On the back of another brutal ACL injury in 2022, Miyaichi returned to action last season and was playing some of the best football of his career to date.

Now playing for Yokohama F. Marinos, it’s nice to see the 31-year-old doing well for himself.

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Yuto Nagatomo

Despite playing for Inter Milan for nine seasons and racking up over 200 appearances for the club, Nagatomo only got his hands on one trophy during his time in Italy.

However, he did enjoy some trophy-filled seasons with Galatasaray before eventually returning to Japan in 2021. Still going strong at 37 years old, the FC Tokyo full-back still has some life left in him yet.

Yoshinori Muto

The Japanese striker never really lived up to expectations during his stint with Newcastle United, although to be fair, he wasn’t given much of a chance.

Muto played just 727 minutes of Premier League football and scored one goal before he was promptly shown the exit door at St James’ Park.

Thankfully, he’s managed to get his career back on track in Japan and is now one of Vissel Kobe’s top players. In 91 appearances for the Japanese club, he’s produced an impressive 49 goal contributions. That’s not bad going.