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Keisuke Honda’s unusual journey around the world

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Many will recognize Keisuke Honda’s name from his time at AC Milan or from his time at CSKA Moscow or perhaps from his time at CF Pachuca in Mexico or more recently for Botafogo from Brazil. From European, South American, North American or Asian football, the name of this Japanese will be familiar to you.

Keisuke Honda has the distinction of having played and scored goals in four continental football confederations (AFC, UEFA, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL) due to that particular journey that has been his career and his qualities as a player.

The Japanese attacking midfielder began his professional career in his country with Nagoya Grampus after his time in Japanese High School football, whose system has similarities with American sports and college system. Keisuke Honda’ talent caught the attention of the VVV-Venlo of the Eredivisie with which he to suffer relegation and the following year a promotion back to the top of Dutch football. That season in the Eerste Divisie helped Honda adapt to European football.

Keisuke Honda’s time in the Netherlands turned out to be very fruitful to the point of being signed by CSKA Moscow where he became known in Europe thanks to the team’s performances in UEFA international competitions. At the end of his contract with CSKA Moscow, Honda signed with AC Milan where he alternated moments of greater participation and good performance with being a sub and little participation. Leaving Italy is where the most striking part of Honda’s journey began since, instead of staying in Europe or returning to Asia as usual, the Japanese chose to accept the offer of CF Pachuca de México where he had an outstanding performance but only stayed a year.

In another curious step, Honda agreed to be the manager of the Cambodia national team while he was still an active football player and, to be closer to his new position, he decided to go play in the A-League, signing for Melbourne Victory FC. A year later he would return to Europe, more precisely to Holland with the SBV Vitesse, where he had little playing time. In 2020, Keisuke Honda signed with Botafogo from Brazil, having better performances, although perhaps not living up to the expectations of the fans. In fact, upon his recent departure from the Brazilian club, Honda apologized for his performance and for not having been able to help the team out of the relegation positions where they remain to this day. The Japanese terminated his contract with Botafogo to sign with Portimonense SC of the Primeira Liga.

In summary, Honda has had a very unusual career that has taken him too many places in the world and that is not yet over. It remains to be seen what the next step for the Japanese will be.

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