Jay Bothroid came to Japan with a hunger.”J-League is not easy.”

  • text by Yoichi Igawa
  • photo by Matsuoka Kenzaburo

Throughout his career, who were the toughest defenders he faced? Bothroyd's face takes on faraway look before he replies.

"Paolo Maldini, Rio Ferdinand, and Ivan Cordoba, who is small but jumped really high and played very aggressively. I didn't like playing against him. In the J-League, (Gen) Shoji, who went abroad from Kashima Antlers, was a tough defender, and (Tomoaki) Makino is always strong."

Bothroyd would like to see more foreign players coming to the J-League, but thinks they need to not only have good quality but also high motivation, a good physical condition, and a proper attitude. Otherwise, he doesn't feel they can succeed in Japan.

"I came here with desire and a hunger to do well. I did not come here to just play out the end of my career, just kicking the ball around one last time. I wanted to prove myself. As a foreigner, if you come here to play and want to improve, to be successful, you can do so. But, take the current Vissel Kobe side, for example, it looks like the senior team of Barcelona. If you look at the table, though, that says a lot. The name doesn't matter. What matters is what you can do now. Don't get me wrong, (Andres) Iniesta and (David) Villa are playing really well, but J-League is not that easy. On paper, they should be at the top of the league, but in reality they are not. So if you want to come to the J-League, come here with the right attitude to want to succeed, not for a holiday."