He’s back. But then (thanks to digital technology) he’s never really been away.
Was it really over 7 years ago when his amazing free kick against Manchester United took Celtic into the group stages of the Champions League for the first time and rocked Paradise to its foundations?
The season’s climax came (finally) on 22nd April 2007 when his last minute free-kick secured the Championship for Celtic at Rugby Park – as seen here by Celtic fans in the Main Stand that day. (A better view than the Killie keeper had, it would seem)
It wasn’t all dead balls you know. Who was there will ever forget this incredible strike against Ye Olde Rangers from 16th April 2008 which helped Celtic narrow the title gap to one point – a victory which helped drive the team on to win the League at Tannadice a few weeks later.
Now that he’s returned to the team with whom it all started, Yokohama Marinos, he’s still playing and still scoring wonder goals – but he’s also demonstrated his pinpoint accuracy off the pitch as well in various crazy situations dreamed up by Japanese TV executives.
First was this incredible challenge to hit a ball into the window of a moving bus – with a van in front of him! Easy . . .
And more recently we’ve had his attempt at striking the bridal figures on the top of a wedding cake . . . at an actual wedding ceremony. No pressure there then.
A piece of cake in fact. Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa, the pretender to his throne, is not afraid to ask Nakamura for tips prior to his appearances in the World Cup for Japan later this year.
“Shun-san – please do it again”
How we yearn for his masterful ball control and delicious free-kicks. While the begrudgers (of whom there were plenty) in this country accused him of cheating by putting the ball where the keeper couldn’t reach it – how we still feel their pain – for the Celtic support these YouTube moments remind us of the Asian Sensation we claimed as our own.
Naka’s ability to make the difficult look effortless was celebrated in song thanks to Eddi Reader and her son Sam who dreamt up this delightful ditty which Eddi played at the 2008 Player of the Year event at Celtic Park:
Naka liked it so much he ordered another bottle of Irn Bru.
Altogether now, “Nakamura makes it Japaneasy, easy-peasy!”