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Kubo: Real Madrid sign Japanese starlet ahead of Barcelona

Kubo: Real Madrid sign Japanese starlet ahead of Barcelona

Real Madrid have confirmed that Takefusa Kubo, 18, is to move to the Bernabéu from Tokyo FC and go into next season's Castilla squad.

Real Madrid have beaten arch rivals Barcelona to the signature of Japanese starlet Takefusa Kubo, it was announced on Friday. In a statement on their official website, Los Blancos confirmed that the Tokyo FC teenager is to join the ranks of their 'B' team, Real Madrid Castilla, next season.

Was at Barcelona until 2015, but FIFA rap led to Japan return

The swoop sees Madrid snap up a talent who was previously part of Barça's youth set-up, but had to return to Japan in 2015 in the wake of the FIFA sanctions handed to the Catalans over irregularities in the signing of international minors.

Having turned 18 earlier this month, Kubo is now free to move back to Europe - and Barça had been hopeful that he would rejoin the fold at the Camp Nou.

Manchester City, Bayern and PSG were also interested

Indeed, a deal was reportedly in place for the midfielder to go into the Blaugrana's second team, Barça B, but the player has opted against the move and has instead chosen Madrid, despite also attracting interest from Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

Capped once at senior level by Japan, Kubo has been included in the Samurai Blue's squad for the Copa América, which gets underway today. The Japanese, who are making their second guest appearance at the South American tournament, have been drawn in a group with Uruguay, Ecuador and Chile.