The coolest thing Mitchell Langerak thinks about J.League is... (2ページ目)

  • text by Yoichi Igawa
  • photo by Manabu Takahashi

Langerak was born in a sports-oriented family that urged him to play many kinds of sports. With natural athleticism and constant hard work, he grew into a professional keeper, moving to Germany where he was trained by the finest coaches including Jurgen Klopp, and had the chance to play in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. For the custodian with first-hand knowledge of the highest level, the J.League is also a quality stage.

"The standard of the league is very high," Langerak said in his typically optimistic tone. "For goalkeepers like me, it's always a big challenge, really. The players are truly skillful, pacy, smart, tactically intelligent overall, and their shots are so powerful and precise. So, even for foreign players with top-level experience, it's not a walk in the park. Some top players like (Andres) Iniesta and (David) Villa came to play in the league and they raised the standard."

While Langerak faced many great attackers such as Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Robert Lewandowski, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in Germany, he acknowledges there are also many tough strikers in the J.League, including Fernando Torres (now retired), Douglas, and Leandro Damiao. As a foreign player himself, Langerak would like to see more arrive in the near future and has some advice for possible newcomers from overseas.

"If you have the chance, you should definitely come to Japan," he said clearly. "It's obviously intimidating to move to a new country in a new continent. But once you are here, it's a really fantastic place to live and play football. You will get looked after, will get treated very nicely, and you won't have to worry about anything.

"The majority of the stadiums are big, new, clean, and have many spectators. As a player, you want to play in full stadiums, and you can enjoy that often in the J.League. Apart from Germany, where most matches are full houses, there are not many other places in the world where the stadiums are full week in week out, but you get that in Japan. I think this is one of the coolest things about playing in the J.League. It's the opposite in Australia, unfortunately ─ we have big and nice stadiums, but not many people come to watch. So I'm very happy to play in Japan."

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