KEY POINTS

  • Real Madrid may have to deal with setbacks in trying to put Takefusa Kubo in the first team
  • Kubo has been dubbed as the "Japanese Lionel Messi"
  • Zinedine Zidane told Kubo he wants him to stay at Real Madrid next season

Despite strong interest from Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid may have to deal with setbacks involving the citizenship of its on-loan youngster Takefusa Kubo, who has been dubbed as the “Japanese Lionel Messi.”

In his loan season with Real Mallorca, Kubo has managed to keep his parent club, Real Madrid, interested in handing him his first team debut soon. However, Marca reported that taking Kubo out of his loan deal and permanently signing him will not be easy.

The report suggested that Kubo’s nationality may affect his rise to stardom at Madrid. The Japanese international, who has spent the 2019/20 season on loan at  Mallorca, would need to take up a non-European Union spot in Zidane's squad if he wants to fulfill his dreams of joining the first team next season.

Real Madrid is only allowed three non-EU players in its squad at any single time. One of these spots could go to the 19-year-old as he is apparently one of the club’s top priorities. And unlike other players, he may not be able to obtain a Spanish passport as easily.

Japanese law doesn't allow for dual citizenship. This means it is possible Kubo may eventually be forced to give up his Japanese passport for a Spanish one.

According to Japanese law, Kubo can only be allowed to have dual citizenship in three ways, one of which involves him acquiring another citizenship “inadvertently.” This includes marrying a citizen of another country.

Another way would be if he had a non-Japanese citizen parent or if he had been born in a "land law" country with at least one Japanese parent. 

If he does get approved for Spanish citizenship before the age of 22, however, he would still have to pick only one citizenship within two years.

For now, Kubo has received plenty of loan offers after his impressive showing at Mallorca. However, it could also increase the risk of Kubo getting injured along the way, given that he has three years left before finally getting a chance to become a Spanish citizen.

Takefusa Kubo Takefusa Kubo of RCD Mallorca looks on prior to the Liga match between RCD Mallorca and Granada CF at Iberostar Estadi on July 16, 2020 in Mallorca, Spain. Photo: Getty Images/Quality Sport Images

In an interview in Japan back in December 2019 (via Marca), Kubo revealed that Madrid boss Zidane personally told him he wanted him to stay with the team this coming season.

"When the tour of North America ended, Zidane told me that he wanted me to stay at Real Madrid this season," Kubo said on Japanese TV.

Aside from his fine form at Mallorca, Kubo has made quite a buzz by earning comparisons to Messi. In fact, he was once the only active player to statistically dribble like the Barcelona captain, beating the likes of Nabil Fekir of Real Betis. 

But unlike other players his age, Kubo is not too thrilled about being compared to Messi, even saying, “I don't like to be compared to a player as big as Messi, but I will continue working.”