What Shunsuke Nakamura told Kyogo about the Scottish media before Celtic move

By David Walton

March 22, 2022

Celtic icon Shunsuke Nakamura has stated that he told Kyogo Furuhashi before his move to Parkhead that the Scottish media would consistently try and compare them.

Nakamura paved the way for Japanese footballers at Celtic with a stunning impact in Glasgow between 2005 and 2009. The mercurial Naka ended his Hoops career with 6 winner’s medals and 145 appearances for the club [Transfermarkt].

Kyogo, meanwhile, has been making his own impact in Glasgow’s East End this season. Since signing from Vissel Kobe in the summer, the striker has managed 16 goals for the club before his December injury [Transfermarkt].

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

And as Nakamura reflected on his success, he’s revealed the one thing he told his compatriot about the media in Scotland. Speaking via the Celtic View [Volume 57, Issue 3, page 37] Naka said: “When Kyogo signed for Celtic, I got a message from a Japanese player called Yota Maejima who asked me if he could contact me. Since then, we’ve been friends.

“I didn’t have any special relationship with him before this. We had played against each other and we had said hello, nothing special.

“I told him ‘At every opportunity, the Scottish media would compare you with me. But don’t mind that, just enjoy playing in Scotland’. There were other Asian players like Cha Du-Ri and Ki Sung-Yeung over the years, so I told them just to enjoy their game and not worry about the comparisons.”

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Shunsuke Nakamura wasn’t wrong, but Kyogo now stands out on his own at Celtic

The comparisons between the pair were rife at the start of Kyogo’s Celtic career. It was understandable to an extent given the fact Naka is a successful Japanese Celtic player. Our only one in fact. However, that’s where any comparison had to end.

We’re talking about 2 totally different football players. Players with different skill-sets who play in different positions. There’s nothing to compare really when you talk about both players.

Let’s also not forget that Nakamura signed for Celtic from Reggina after spending 3 years in Italy. It’s not like Kyogo who left home for the first time in his career to make a success of it in Europe.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Regardless, the comparisons have now clearly stopped. Kyogo’s success in Scotland has led to him being identified as his own man. Deservedly so too given he’s stamped his authority down on Scottish football.

There will come a time in the future if he stays long enough where he’ll again be getting compared to Nakamura in terms of who was better. But again, it’s all irrelevant. It’s a desire to compare something that just isn’t there and isn’t of any importance whatsoever.

But it’s great to see the 2 best Japanese players in the history of the club are in touch with each other.

In other news, Celtic boss’ fantastic praise for Yosuke Ideguchi and what he’s doing at Lennoxtown