Gaku Shibasaki, born on May 28, 1992, is a professional soccer player from Aomori prefecture. He is currently playing in Getafe CF, which is a team from Santander in the La Liga.
He plays both as a defensive and attacking midfielder.
Shibasaki joined his local club and began playing soccer when he was in 6th grade. It was around this time that he lead his team to the prefectural championship, which made his name known across Aomori. He received an invitation by one of the most prestigious Aomori Yamada High School soccer club’s manager, Go Kuroda, after which he left his parents’ home and school behind to enter Aomori Yamada Junior High School.
He stayed in the same school and when he became a first year high school student, he was made team captain and given the no. 10 jersey. During his second year, his team was able to finish in 2nd place in the 88th All Japan High School Soccer Tournament. At that moment, the Kashima Antlers offered him a provisional contract, and on January 19, 2011, the contract was made official as his graduation was approaching.
After joining the team, Gaku made his first appearance in the J. League in the 8th match of the season, against Avispa Fukuoka, from the 40 minute mark in the second half. He scored his first point in the regular season against Nagoya Grampus in the semifinals of the Nabisco Cup on October 9, and then went on to play the full duration of the final match.
Already in his first year, he helped his team secure the J. League Cup.
He earned his spot as a regular at the start of the following year, in 2012, and in the Nabisco Cup final against Shimizu S-Pulse, he scored two goals and lead his team to their second consecutive victory. Not only did he earn the MVP title, but also his first J. League Best Eleven award after the end of the season in the J. League Award Ceremony.
After that, Shibasaki continued to play as the Antlers’ key player, and in 2015, he achieved his third Nabisco Cup championship title. In 2016, he became the team’s second Japanese player to wear the no. 10 jersey and carry the Antlers’ to new heights. He demonstrated excellent play and lead his team to victory in both the J1 League championship and the Emperor’s Cup.
In the FIFA Club World Cup that took place the same year, his team did lose in the final against the European Champions, Real Madrid, but Shibasaki managed to score 2 goals, which lead to his transfer to Spain.
Once the J. League’s 2016 season ended, his transfer to Spain’s second division team, CD Tenerife, was announced. After transferring to his new team, he struggled at first to adapt to life in a foreign country, but in the second half of the season, in the 32nd match against Real Oviedo, he was given his first chance to play in the starting lineup. He continued to show gradual improvement, and in the 40th match of season against AD Alcorcon, he scored his first goal for his new team.
On top of that, he showed great presence in the play-offs by shooting a goal and earning an assist. Unfortunately, his team was defeated and they missed their chance to promote to the first division.
On July 17, 2017, he signed a contract with Getafe CF, which had just promoted to Spain’s first division, and he was given the no. 10 jersey. On September 16, in the fourth match of season against FC Barcelona, he scored his first goal and ended Barcelona’s goal keeper, Ter Stegen’s scoreless run, proving that he can pull his weight even in the foreign top level games.
Meanwhile, Shibasaki made his debut for the main Japan national team on September 9, 2014, in the Venezuela match, where he also scored his first goal for his country. He still hasn’t had opportunities to appear consistently in the national team, but people are hoping to see him lead the new generation stars, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, as their team captain.