Real Madrid signs Japanese wonderkid

Spanish football giant Real Madrid has signed a nine-year-old Japanese Takuhiro Nakai (into their youth team). Takuhiro is the club’s first Japanese (youth) player; their arch rival Barcelona also signed a Japanese kid last year.

Takuhiro was already a Youtube sensation prior to the signing, above is a one of the viral videos showing his skills when he was around six or seven of age.

David Beckham to retire from football

Former English captain David Beckham is set to retire from professional football at the end of the season. Outstanding player, never the best but arguably the most famous of his generation. If you are not a soccer fan you might not know who’s Cannavaro, Ronaldinho, or even Messi, but you probably know who’s David Beckham.

Here’s a video from 1996, Manchester United vs Wimbledon, a goal which puts the 21-year-old Beckham on global headlines (for the first time). The rest is history.

David Beckham & Chinese football

English football star David Beckham, who joined French club Paris Saint-Germain in late January, was in Beijing as a special ambassador for Chinese football.

David Beckham in China

China has been eagered to become a football powerhouse in the past decade. Unfortunately their men’s national team has been underwhelming despite hundred millions of dollars being spent to develop the sport; and their ambition further dampened by the corruption in the professional league in the past few years.

Beckham’s visit has created plenty of buzz, but many doubt that it serves any real purpose beside PR stunt. Despite having legion of fans, football is never a popular sport to play in China (and many parts of Asia), it’s an odd situation where people would watch hours of European games weekly but not interested to kick the ball.

In the past two decades Japan and Korea (and Australia if it counts) are the only Asian countries that made consistent progress. It helps to have proper planning and execution from grassroots to professional levels, but the cultural shift (to make people, youngsters especially, to play the sport) is the real challenge.

I imagine it’s much easier for Chinese youth to have a ping-pong or badminton match which require little space and as few as two players to start a game. And there’s also the fact that they have better chance to thrive in these sports on global stage. It’s going to take a lot more than a certain David Beckham to make the change.

Turkish Airlines – Kobe vs Messi: Legends on Board

Commercial for Turkish Airlines, featuring two of the world’s biggest sport stars, i.e. American basketball player Kobe Bryant and Argentine footballer Lionel Messi

Singapore wins AFF Suzuki Cup 2012

Singapore lifted the ASEAN Football Cup (officially the AFF Suzuki Cup, named after the current sponsor) for a record fourth time after defeating Thailand 3-2 on aggregate…

Singapore AFF Suzuki Cup 2012

Southeast Asian football hit new low in 2011 with no representative in the AFC Asian Cup, which is a shame as football is arguably the most popular sport in this region. Hope to see at least one of the Southeast Asian teams make it to Australia (2015).