Puyol, Xavi, Villa, Iniesta and, of course, Messi; even those who are unfamiliar with soccer are likely to have heard at least one of the names of these superstar players from FC Barcelona.
Here in Japan, soccer is more popular than it has ever been and the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, which is being held in Yokohama and Toyota until December 18, has got the whole country talking about the sport—and the dashing players of international teams like FC Barcelona who are currently residing in Japan for the tournament.
Most recently, Japanese internet communities and Twitter are abuzz with soccer fans going nuts over images uploaded by FC Barcelona right defender Daniel Alves of the players riding the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and taking commemorative shots at JR Yokohama Station.
Perhaps the best part about these pictures is that absolutely no one standing around them seems to have any idea who they are, leading them to be dubbed “The Idols That Go Unnoticed” by Spanish sports news site Mundo Deportivo.
According to manager Josep Guardiola, the team spent all day sight-seeing in Tokyo on Dec 13.
“I want to give the players as much free time as possible.” he commented.
FC Barcelona? In my Tokyo?
This likely possibility was enough to persuade your lazy reporter to think about getting off his ass and do some good-ol-fashioned paparazzi work.
At the time of writing this article, I had received a tip that striker Lionel Messi was reported to be shopping at Yodobashi Camera (see photo below). However, it was said that Messis was accompanied by bodyguards who reportedly scolded a Japanese fan when they enthusiastically called out “HELLO!”
True, it’s rude of us to disturb the players on their much-deserved day off. With this in mind, I decided that if I ran into Messi or any of the other FC Barcelona players, I would watch over them warmly from the sidelines and, with the hope that they enjoy their stay in Japan, say “welcome!”
(Unfortunately, by the end of the day, I didn’t have the chance to do even that…)
Source：Mundo Deportivo (Spanish)
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