Keisuke Honda (本田 圭佑, Honda Keisuke?, born 13 June 1986) is a Japanese footballer who currently plays for Russian CSKA Moscow. and the Japan national football team. His current position is as a deep-lying playmaker, but he can equally play as an attacking midfielder or second striker. He is also a very skilled free kick taker scoring two in the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

Personal information

Full name: Keisuke Honda
Date of birth: 13 June 1986 (1986-06-13) (age 24)
Place of birth: Settsu, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Height: 1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)
Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Club information
Current club: CSKA Moscow
Number: 7

Youth career
Settsu FC
1999–2001 Gamba Osaka
2002–2004 Seiryō High School

Senior career*
2005–2008 Nagoya Grampus Eight 90 (22 gol)
2008–2009 VVV-Venlo 68 (24 gol)
2010– CSKA Moscow 28 (4 gol)

National team‡
2005 Japan U-20 4 (0)
2006–2008 Japan U-23 ? (5)
2008– Japan 28 (7)

Early career

Born in Settsu, Osaka Prefecture, Honda started playing football with Settsu FC, the local club, when he was a second-grader at primary school. He joined Gamba Osaka's junior youth team but the club did not promote him to their youth team. He entered Seiryō High School (ja:星稜高等学校) in Ishikawa Prefecture and started playing for the school. He was one of the key players when Seiryō advanced to the semi-final stage of the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament for the first time as a representative of Ishikawa Prefecture. He was chosen as one of the Designated Players for Development by J. League and JFA in 2004.

Nagoya Grampus Eight

Because of this status, Honda was able to register as a Nagoya Grampus Eight player while he was still eligible to play for his high school. He played one J. League Cup match for Nagoya while he was still a student.

After his graduation, he officially joined Nagoya in 2005. He started the first match of the season and recorded an assist. In 2006, he became a regular in the club.

Honda celebrates his goal against FC Groningen at the De Koel stadium on August 22, 2009

On 16 January 2008, he signed a two and half year deal with Eredivisie side VVV-Venlo. He became known as 'Keizer Keisuke' (Emperor Keisuke) among the fans of VVV-Venlo.

Honda was chosen as league Most Valuable Player at 08-09 seasons.

CSKA Moscow

At the end of December 2009 Honda transferred to the Russian CSKA Moscow for 6 million euros. Honda signed a 4 year contract.[4] The transfer fee was undisclosed, but VVV-Venlo was said to be very content with the fee as it almost matched their asking price.

Honda made his debut for CSKA in the UEFA Champions League-match against Sevilla.In the second leg in Seville, he scored the winning goal through a direct free kick for CSKA after having set up the first goal for Tomáš Necid. This secured a 2–1 (3–2 aggregate) victory to send the club to the quarterfinals, making Honda the first Japanese player to be in the quarterfinals as well as the first to score in the knock-out stages.

Honda scored his first league goal on 12 March 2010, in the home match against Amkar Perm. He scored the goal in the third minute of injury time, slotting home a pass from Necid with his left. With the goal, he secured the win for CSKA Moscow.

International career

He was a member of the Japan team for 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and played for U-23 national team, that qualified for 2008 Summer Olympics football tournament finals. He made a full international debut for Japan on June 22, 2008 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bahrain. On 14 July 2008, he was formally named as one of the midfielders of the Japanese U-23 national football team for the Beijing Olympics football competition.He scored his first goal for senior national team on 27 May 2009 in a friendly match against Chile at Nagai Stadium in Osaka.

2010 World Cup

Honda scored Japan's winning goal in their first 2010 World Cup match against Cameroon, finishing off Daisuke Matsui's cross into the top left corner of the net and this was the only goal in the match. His performance in the game gained him the Man of the Match Award from FIFA. In the final group-stage game against Denmark, he scored a free kick in the 17th minute from 30 yards out before turning provider for Shinji Okazaki after making his way into the penalty area, with a Cruyff Turn that beat a Denmark player, in the 88th minute to make the score 3–1 to Japan, a performance that earned him the man of the match award once more and Japan qualified for the second round where they were eliminated by Paraguay after 0–0 a.e.t. and 4–5 at penalties (Honda scored his penalty). Jonathan Wilson of The Guardian cited him as a 'false nine': a player superficially employed as a centre forward but moving deeper to pull the opposition defense around the pitch.

2011 AFC Asian Cup
Honda was included in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup by coach Alberto Zaccheroni. In the game against Syria he scored a penalty kick making the score 2–1, for Japan. He earned player of the match for that game. In the semi-finals against Korea Republic, he shot a penalty kick, but was blocked by Jung Sung-Ryong. But in the penalty shoot outs of that game, he scored. Again he earned player of the match.

Honda was awarded the most valuable player of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.

Personal life

Honda's elder brother was also a footballer. Honda's uncle Daizaburo Honda was a canoeist who represented Japan in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Daizaburo's son and Keisuke's cousin Tamon Honda participated in three Olympic Games in freestyle wrestling in 1984, 1988, and 1992 and is now a professional wrestler.
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