São Paulo-born defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka arrived in Japan as a 15-year-old, joining Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2001. The 1.85m defender’s strongest points were physical strength and a fierce tackling ability. After one goal in 17 games in his first term and another goal in 22 matches in his second, his future seemed bright.
However, Sanfrecce were relegated to second division and he was subsequently loaned out to minnows Mito Holly Hock in 2003. The transfer proved to be a blessing in disguise, falling under the tutelage of ex-Japan captain Hideki Maeda.
Tulio became a Japanese citizen in 2003 and joined the country’s biggest club, Urawa Red Diamonds, the following year, leading to him representing his adopted country at the Olympics in 2004.
He found began to find success with Urawa before earning his full Samurai Blue debut in 2006. He led Urawa to the J.league title that year and the AFC Champions League in 2007.
Having played through the AFC Asian Cup qualifying matches in 2008 he missed the finals because of an injury. However he was an intengral part of Takeshi Okada’s team that reached the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.