ZARAGOZA, Spain – The unveiling of Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa as a Real Zaragoza player has broken barriers before both the press as nearly 5,000 fans came to welcome him at the La Romareda stadium.
The arrival of the 30-year-old as a Zaragoza player for two seasons met high expectations, boosted by the large number of his followers on social media.
Instead of being held at the Romareda press room, Kagawa’s presser took place at the Zaragoza Auditorium, where accreditations were mandatory to attend the event.
The presser drew attention of the large number of Japanese media.
He is expected to be on Saturday in Zaragoza’s first second-tier league game of the season against Tenerife.
Both the player and the club’s sporting director Lalo Arantegui are aiming high as they set their sights on earning promotion to the top-flight league in what will be the club’s seventh second-tier season in a row.
The Aragon Japan Association welcomed Kagawa with a traditional music show that involved Japanese drums.
Kagawa denied he felt the pressure of Zaragoza’s desire to gain promotion to La Liga, adding that he seeks to enjoy the fight for promotion.
Joining the Spanish club was the right path to take in order to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the best shape, according to Kagawa, who said he had watched videos of his new team.
The Japanese, however, is aware of the tight schedule he will face, as he is set to play at least 42 matches per season with both his club and national team.
The 97-time capped player knows that he has to play well with Zaragoza and earn the promotion in order to continue being part of the national team.
Playing in Spain was a dream that came true for Kagawa, who has previously played at Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United.
Kagawa has under his belt two Bundesligas, two German Cups, a Premier League and a Community Shield, while he helped Japan win an Asian Cup and has taken part in two World Cups.