Japanese outfit HCMC Football Club have completed the permanent signing of Brazilian striker Junior Barros. The forward becomes the most recent foreign player to be moving to be Japanese league after his contract with Ventforet Kofu ended. Before moving to the Japanese J1 League, Barros used to ply his trade in his native Brazil but decided to join Kofu back in 2017. He then decided to leave the club after Kofu were confirmed to be dropping to the Japanese J2 league back in 2018.

He remained the club’s striker until his contract ran out earlier this February. During his stint at Kofu, Barros scored a total number of seventeen goals. He is now joining HCMC as a free agent after his contract expired at Kofu. German football site Transfermarkt value the player at €300,000 which is something of a bargain for his new club. Barros is coming to HCMC as a proven goalscorer and a talented forward that promises a lot of goals and has done well at every club he’s been at.

Japan suffer 2-0 loss to Mexico in friendly

Japan were unable to keep their unbeaten run going after suffering a 2-0 loss to Mexico in a friendly match. This was the first defeat in four games for the Japanese national team. Despite having a good start to the game, Japan were unable to capitalise and Mexico came back stronger in the second half. Wolves forward Raul Jimenez was able to break the deadlock in the 63rd minute. It seemed that Japan were taken aback by this goal and they quickly found themselves 2-0 down thanks to a goal from Hirving Lozano in the 68th minute.

The first half was completely controlled by the Samurai blue. However, they were unable to break the deadlock with Genki Haraguchi and Musashi Suzuki coming very close. After the game, Suzuki admitted that this was the kind of result that would happen to a team if they do not take the chances when they were on top.


Aston Villa women are one of the clubs in the Women Super League (WSL) and they have made a big coup by signing one of the best players in Asia. Aston Villa women have signed Japan national women team captain ManaIwabuchi from INAC Kobe Leonessa in her native Japan. ManaIwabuchi has set his sights on playing for Japan at the Olympics later this summer. The new Aston Villa signing is in line to represent his country when the Olympics is held on home soil. The Olympic Games should have taken place last summer but it was postponed till this summer as a result of the effects from Coronavirus.

ManaIwabuchi, 27, is a quality player and he has 72 caps for the Japan national women team. She was part of the Japan team that won the 2011 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament in Germany. ManaIwabuchi previously played for the German duo of Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim.



Vissel Kobe FC of Japan have booked their place in the finalin the East region of the Asian Champions League after a nervy penalty win over South Korean club Suwon Bluewings during their semi-final clash on Thursday in the East region. Suwon Bluewings and Japan topflight club Vissel Kobe had to resort to the dreaded penalty shootout after the two teams scored a goal apiece at the end of regulation time and extra time.

Vissel Kobe FC of Japan had qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League after they defeated Chinese team Shanghai East Asia 2-0 in the round of 16 through the goals from Spanish football legend Andres Iniesta and Daigo Nishi in the first half and second half of the game respectively. On their part, Suwon Bluewings edged Yokohama FM of Japan in a five-goal thriller to book a last eight meeting with Vissel Kobe who were able to avenge the defeat of their fellow Japan topflight club.



Japan head coach, Hajime Moriyasu, has just announced his 24-man squad for November fixtures. Kento Hashimoto and Takuma Asano have been added to the squad for Japan’s friendly games against Mexico and Panama next week. The head coach equally included Yuto Nagatomo in the team.

Asano has secured his place in the squad because Yuya Osako sustained a knee injury playing for Werder Bremen’s last match. At the same time, Hashimoto was included in the team because of his fine form since joining the Russian club Rostov from Tokyo in July 2020.

Steve Bruce prepared to discuss future with Yoshinori Muto


Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has said that he will hold talks with Yoshinori Muto at the end of the season and has no problems with the attitude of the Japan international. The Magpies have stayed clear of the relegation over the course of the entire season and they will end their campaign this weekend with a home game against Liverpool.

Muto has played as the deputy behind Dwight Gayle and Joelinton for the striker’s role this term and he has been restricted to only eight league appearances totalling 209 minutes. Hence, he has been fancied to head for the exit door in the quest for more game time and Bruce is prepared to hold showdown talks with the former Mainz star.

Hajime Moriyasu will lead the Japanese Olympics team


Japanese national coach Hajime Moriyasu will continue to be in charge of the Olympic side even after the postponement of the Olympic games, which was set to be settled in Tokyo. The coronavirus pandemic meant that the Tokyo Olympics, which was set to take place on 2020, and the qualification matches for the World Cup 2022 have been postponed. As a result of the fixture congestion that this causes in the football calendar around the world, the Japanese Football Association grew concerned about the ability of the current management to manage both tasks in an efficient way.

Initially, it was decided thatMoriyasu would be in charge of the Olympic team since the World Cup qualification does not overlap these games. There will be some overlapping in terms of preparing for matches and some warmup matches, but these should not be a major problem. If there is a similar overlapping case, Akinobu Yokouchi will be able to take charge of the Olympic team. JFA Technical Committee chairmanYasuharuSorimachi said that there have been extensive discussions about the best course of action for the national team. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Olympics, the JFA has decided to makeMoriyasu remain in charge of the Olympic team. The Olympic teams will only feature under 23 players with only three players over this age limit.

Franco di Santo being frozen out by Jorge Sampaoli


Franco di Santo is heading into a problematic situation, as Atletico Mineiro coach Jorge Sampaoli is not keen on bringing him back to training even as football is on the verge of resuming to its normal schedule. The Argentine striker is back in his home continent after signing forAtletico Mineiro. He has been on the road for the last few years, as he has been unable to find a proper destination. His most comfortable spell in recent years was with Schalke, where he spent four years from 2015 to 2019.

This recently came to an end after the move to Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano, but this was not so successful. After joining the Spanish outfit on a free transfer in January 2019, the striker only featured in six games before being released.


Liverpool are expected to make a huge statement in the summer transfer window. The runaway league leaders will splash the cash in the summer, as they bid to build on their success, and try to keep up with other European elite teams.

The club have made two additions all through the season. They signed goalkeeper Adrian on a free transfer from West Ham in the summer. The Spaniard was the only arrival last summer. They added the second player during the winter transfer window. Takumi Minamino joined from RB Salzburg. The Japanese international started his career in Japanese football with Cerezo Osaka before making the move to European football. He moved to Austria with RB Salzburg in 2015. He left the Austrian Champions after 5 years to join Liverpool. The Japanese was the only outfield player to join the club since last summer.

Gerrard feels ‘faultless’ Van Dijk deserves Ballon d’Or ahead of Messi

Rangers head coach Steven Gerrard believes Virgil van Dijk deserves to win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi, given he was faultless with his performances during the Reds’ Champions League triumph. Van Dijk has been hugely instrumental for the Reds in the central defence since arriving from Southampton last year and he has continued the good form this term, where the Reds are comfortably at the top of the Premier League table.

Speaking in a press conference, Gerrard acknowledged that he is a huge admirer of Barcelona’s Messi and he is among those, who would want the Argentine to enjoy every success. However, he added that the Ballon d’Or should be presented to Van Dijk, given he was the catalyst towards ending the Reds’ seven-year wait for a trophy.