Real Sociedad forward Takefusa Kubo is enjoying the best season of his career so far, but the Japanese playmaker is very aware that it was do or die. Earlier in the season Kubo commented that he felt it was his last chance, a message he has reiterated again.
La Real are on course to finish in the top four, with just two points needed from their final two games against Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. The 21-year-old has 9 goals and 9 assists in 42 appearances this season, and his contribution was key again in their recent 1-0 win over Almeria. His curling effort into the top corner turned out to be the winner.
“In training I usually shoot for the far post, placed, not very strong, with just enough power, and one day I knew I was bound to score a goal like that in a game,” he told Marca.
Quizzed on his turnaround this season, from inconsistent but exciting creative force into a genuine difference-maker for La Real, Kubo recalled the start of the season.
“One of the key moments was in the first game. After the games I had played in preseason, I had doubts about whether my name was going to be in the starting eleven and, when I saw it, I thought that I had to repay that start, that I hadn’t won at all, I had to show it on the pitch. Luckily, I was able to score a goal and my football life changed a bit.”
While Kubo looks a certain starter for the Txuri-Urdin this season, but he was by no means guaranteed many minutes at the start of the season.
“I wanted what is happening to us to happen, both individually and collectively, but I wasn’t so confident [in myself] to be concerned about the team, because I had to be a starter in a team with a lot of competition, I couldn’t fail anymore because I knew that I was on the verge of people not wanting me. Now I’m very happy that people love me so much.”
Not that he was able to slack off, being dropped, or rested, for a recent trip to Camp Nou. La Real still walked away with a 2-1 win, their first since the 1980s.
“Here, if you relax, the next day you are on the bench. The other day, the new people who came in, showed they had the level to defeat Barca… You have the bad luck of not being able to see the training sessions, I would like people to see the level of demand that there is in the training sessions of the Real.”
Kubo’s good performances look as if they will have reward. Perhaps the most stable project in Spain is on the verge of making the Champions League again, and Kubo looks as if he will be a key player at the top level next season.