TOKYO - A stunning young footballing talent, dubbed the "Japanese Messi" for his dazzling dribbling ability, is set to sharpen his skills at Real Madrid's youth academy.
Hopes are high for Takuhiro Nakai, who, at the tender age of just nine, has been offered a spot with the Spanish giants, his supporters said Friday.
"He is looking forward to it," said Naosuke Takahashi, a member of staff with E+U, a firm that helps organise Real Madrid's youth programmes in Japan.
"What makes him special is his dribbling skills. For a boy of his age, his ball control skills are very special," Takahashi said.
A video of little Takuhiro, his hair tied up like a pineapple to keep it out of his eyes as he runs rings around his opponents, has been a smash on YouTube, garnering more than 1.6 million viewings and a host of appreciative comments.
"This young kid will make Japan proud," posted Philani Ngwekazi, while Reg Zryt said: "Unbelievable skills".
The youngster has also been featured on Japanese television programmes and, Japanese media say, has been a hit on Spanish TV.
Takuhiro's future now depends on sorting out the logistics of moving to Spain, Takahashi told AFP, adding that visas, for example, needed to be put in place.
The video can be seen at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lue6o6FhDC8