Shinji Kagawa, born in March 17th 1989, is a professional soccer player from Hyogo prefecture Kobe city. Presently he is playing as a midfielder for Germany’s Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund and is considered one of the key players.
Kagawa started playing soccer in his childhood and in 2001, when he entered middle school, he also joined FC Miyagi Barcelona as an exchange student. He stayed in Sendai up to December of 2005 when he signed a contract with Cerezo Osaka.
On his second professional season he established himself as a regular. He appeared in 35 J2 League matches, where he scored 5 points. Managing to skip a grade, he was called up for the Japanese national team for the U-20 World Cup that was held in Canada.
In 2008 he was cemented as a regular on the team. He appeared in 35 matches and scored 16 points. His ability to dash past the defense and quickly shoot a passed ball was developing rapidly. In the Beijing Olympics he again skipped a grade, when he was selected to be a member of the national team. During that time he grew a lot as a player and was soon showered with attention.
The following year he was bestowed with Cerezo’s ace number (8) and together with Takashi Inui, who currently plays for SD Eibar, they formed a terrifying attacking force. Kagawa managed to score 27 points that season, shined as the top scorer in J2 and made a significant contribution to Cerezo’s promotion to J1. In 2010 there were rumors that Kagawa would move to a foreign team before the opening match of the J. League. From the opening match he played altogether in 11 matches, where he scored 7 goals and then transferred to Borussia Dortmund.
His performance after transferring to Dortmund would astonish anyone. In the 2010-2011 season’s 4th match against FC Schalke 04 in the Revierderby, Kagawa won the trust of his manager Klopp, teammates and local fans when he earned 2 goals in that match.In the first half of the season he played in 17 games and scored 8 goals.
On the second half he injured himself during an international match and thus could play in only one match, but still he contributed to Dortmund earning the Meisterschale (Champions trophy) after 9 seasons, proving that a Japanese athlete, with a small build, can make an impact on the foreign stage.
In the 2011-2012 season he was again in good condition and he helped the team win their national trophy two times in a row, which was a historic first for the Dortmund. In the DFB-Pokal final against FC Bayern Munich with Kagawa’s goal and 1 assist, the game ended 5-2 in a sweeping victory. After the end of the season his transfer to Manchester United was announced.
While playing for Manchester United he became the first Asian player on the team to pull off a hat trick. He also got to experience winning the Premier League, but due to injuries and poor physical shape, he was only played in a few games once the manager changed and after two seasons he decided to return to Dortmund. After his return, his condition gradually improved and he was again a dominating force like before.
As a representative of Japan, he played as a central player for the national team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup that was held in Brazil. Sadly he could not demonstrate the same kind of performance he had shown in his club team and he ended up being one of the reasons why Japan lost in the group stages. The nightmare continued in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. At the end of the quarter finals against UAE, Kagawa was the 6th player for penalty kicks and he missed his shot, meaning that Japan would end their journey in the best of 8 that year.
Right now he is expected to lead the national team to victory in the 2018 World Cup Russia.