Having been a regular in his nation’s squad since the last FIFA World Cup™, and as one of only two Japanese players to have won the German Bundesliga, Makoto Hasebe is an influential figure for the Samurai Blue.
Hasebe began his professional career with Urawa Red Diamonds in 2003, after graduating from Fujieda Higashi High School, and his five seasons at the club were decorated by honours. The industrious midfielder won the J.League and Emperor’s Cup twice apiece, as well as the AFC Champions League in 2007. Furthermore, he was named in the Japanese top flight’s team of the season in 2004, when he also seized the best newcomer award.
Wolfsburg paid close attention and signed Hasebe in 2008. In his second season at the Volkswagen Arena, he played 25 games as they roared to the Bundesliga title. In the process, he emulated Yasuhiko Okudera, the only previous Japanese to lift the German top-tier crown, in his case with Cologne in 1978.
Hasebe competed in nine matches during Japan’s successful qualification campaign for South Africa.