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Hidetoshi Nakata, Cavaliere OSSI (中田 英寿 Nakata Hidetoshi; born January 22, 1977 in Yamanashi Prefecturemarker), is a Japanesemarker former football player. He was one of the most famous Asian footballers of his generation.

Nakata began his professional career in 1995 and won the Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year award in 1997 and 1998, the Scudetto with A.S. Roma in 2001, played for Japan in three FIFA World Cup tournaments (1998, 2002 and 2006) and played in the Olympics twice (1996 and 2000). In 2005, he was made the Knight of the Star of Italian Solidarity, one of Italy's highest honors, for improving the country's image overseas. Nakata is known as a fashion icon, regularly attending runway shows and wearing designer fashion.

Nakata announced his retirement at age 29 on July 3, 2006 after a ten-year career that included seven seasons in the Italian Serie A and a season in the Englishmarker Premier League.

Pelé named Nakata in his FIFA 100 in March 2004.

Club career

Nakata began his professional career at age 18 in 1995, with J. League side Bellmare Hiratsuka (now Shonan Bellmare). He represented Japan at the 1996 Olympics, where Japan upset Brazil. Nakata also appeared in the 2000 Olympics.

He made his senior national team debut in May 1997 against South Korea and was a key member of the Japanese side that qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, setting up all three Japanese goals in the qualification play-off against Iran. After the World Cup in Francemarker, he moved to Perugia in Italymarker's Serie A.

In January 2000, after one and a half seasons at Perugia, Nakata moved to Roma for 30 Billion ITL, whom he helped to win the scudetto. The highlight of Nakata's career at Roma came on May 6, 2001 in the Serie A match against Juventus F.C. at Stadio Delle Alpimarker. After replacing Francesco Totti in the second half with Roma trailing 0-2, Nakata netted with a 30-yard screamer beyond Juventus goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar's reach. Nakata then set up another goal when his fierce drive from outside the box was parried into the path of Vincenzo Montella, who duly equalised for Roma. The match ended with a 2-2 draw and Roma maintained a six-point margin atop the league table.

He also helped Japan reach the final of the 2001 Confederations Cup that season, but left the national team before the final to join Roma for their final league matches. In the summer of 2001, he joined Parma for 55 billion ITL, where he played for two and a half seasons.

Nakata played in every match for Japan at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted by South Koreamarker and Japan, and scored a goal against Tunisia.

In January 2004, Nakata joined Bologna where he played the remainder of the 2003–04 season before moving to Fiorentina, where he played the following season. In August 2005, Nakata moved to Premiership side Bolton Wanderers on loan. During his season at Bolton he scored once in the league, in a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Nakata played in all three matches for Japan, losing to Australia and Brazil, and drawing with Croatia. His performance against Croatia earned him a Man of the Match award.

Although Nakata has appeared in every World Cup match that Japan has played thus far, he was not selected for the country's Asian Cup-winning squads in 2000 and 2004.

On July 3, 2006, Nakata announced his retirement from professional football and the Japanese national team on his personal website "I decided half a year ago that I would retire from the world of professional football... after the World Cup in Germany." Nakata wrote, "I will never again stand on the pitch as a professional player. But I will never give up football."On June 9, 2007, he made an appearance on the pitch again for the first time in public after his retirement when he played at Luís Figo's charity match.

Nakata has cited the popular manga and anime series, Captain Tsubasa, as his primary inspiration in choosing football as a career.

Career statistics



National team

1995 Bellmare Hiratsuka J. League 26 8 2 1 - - 28 9
1996 26 2 3 0 12 2 - 41 4
1997 21 3 3 0 6 1 - 30 4
1998 12 3 - - - 12 3

1998-99 Perugia Serie A 33 10 0 0 - - 33 10
1999-00 15 2 4 1 - - 19 3
Roma 15 3 1 0 - 2 0 18 3
2000-01 15 2 0 0 - 7 1 22 3
2001-02 Parma 24 1 6 2 - 8 1 38 4
2002-03 31 4 2 0 - 4 0 37 4
2003-04 12 0 2 0 - 4 1 18 1
Bologna 17 2 0 0 - - 17 2
2004-05 Fiorentina 20 0 3 0 - - 23 0

2005-06 Bolton Wanderers Premier League 21 1 3 0 2 0 6 0 32 1
85||16||8||1||18||3||colspan="2"|-||111||20
182||24||18||3||colspan="2"|-||25||3||225||30
21||1||3||0||2||0||6||0||26||1
288||41||29||4||20||3||29||3||368||51


International goals



Honours



Outside of football

Outside of football Nakata has shown interest in fashion, attending runway shows, wearing designer clothing and sporting colorful haircuts. He dyed his hair red for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, hoping to attract the attention of European scouts, and Japanese hairstylist Aki Watanabe credits him as a trendsetter in hair styles. Andrea Tenerani, photographer for GQin Italy said of Nakata, "He's perfect; he's like a model. And he's totally obsessed with fashion," and Calvin Kleindesigner Italo Zucchellisaid, "(Nakata) plays with fashion like all of them now, but in a cooler, more sophisticated way than many others." He was featured in the July 2007 US version of GQwith a 12-page spread on Fall Fashion.

Nakata is currently also an Editor-at-Large at Monocleat the invitation of his friend Tyler Brûlé, who also serves as the magazine's Editor-in-Chief.

Notes and references

  1. ‘I don’t understand why people are football fans. I don’t like to watch any kind of sport’ - by Jonathan Northcroft, The Sunday Times, January 1, 2006.
  2. Hide Chaser |nakata.net - 中田英寿オフィシャルホームページ


External links



# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. June 22, 1997 Tokyomarker, Japanmarker 10-0 Won 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification
2. June 22, 1997 Tokyomarker, Japanmarker 10-0 Won 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification
3. June 28, 1997 Tokyomarker, Japanmarker 1-1 Draw 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification
4. September 7, 1997 Tokyomarker, Japanmarker 6-3 Won 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification
5. November 8, 1997 Tokyomarker, Japanmarker 5-1 Won 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification
6. February 15, 1998 Adelaidemarker, Australia 3-0 Won Friendly
7. June 7, 2000 Yokohama, Japanmarker 1-0 Won 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup Semi-finals
8. March 27, 2002 Łódźmarker, Polandmarker 2-0 Won Friendly
9. June 14, 2002 Osaka, Japanmarker 2-0 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup Group Stage
10. June 18, 2003 Saint-Denis, Francemarker 3-0 Won 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup Group Stage
11. February 28, 2006 Dortmundmarker, Germanymarker 2-2 Draw Friendly

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