Takayuki Morimoto is nicknamed Ronazeguet after his heroes, David Trezeguet and Ronaldo. And like the latter, he exploded on to the scene as a teenage phenomenon.
Indeed, the jet-heeled Tokyo Verdy forward became the youngest player to appear and score in the J.League when he was just 15 in 2004. He spent just two years with the capital club before Catania took him on loan, and the Sicilians made his transfer permanent 12 months later.
Morimoto was on target on his Serie A debut in January 2007 and after starring in the 2008/09 season, Alexandre Pato labeled the Japanese starlet as the best prospect in the Italian top flight and even compared him to his fellow Brazilian, Ronaldo.
The shaven-headed player represented Japan at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Netherlands 2005 and the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008. The following year, Takeshi Okada handed him his full international debut against Scotland, as a substitute in a 2-0 victory, and Morimoto followed that up with a goal in the Samurai Blue’s 5-0 demolition of Togo later that October.
Morimoto, who boasts elusive movement and can turn sharply, is regarded as one of Asian football’s brightest prospects.