Takefusa Kubo faces pivotal third season away from Real Madrid


With Real Madrid confirming this week that Japan international Takefusa Kubo will return to Mallorca on a season-long loan, it means that the promising attacker's Spanish sojourn will resume away from Santiago Bernabeu for the third year running.

Despite interest from other LaLiga clubs like Real Sociedad this summer, Kubo decided to rejoin Mallorca. His four goals in 35 appearances for the club in 2019-20 stood out in what was otherwise a disappointing year for the side.

The impressive debut season in Iberia was followed by a frustrating one for the 20-year-old Kubo, where he struggled to earn playing time at Unai Emery's Villarreal before being recalled in January. His fortunes did not improve in another loan spell at Getafe either during the second half of 2020-21.

The 2021-22 campaign, however, could prove to be a critical juncture for the highly-rated Japanese star's Madrid career.

After a magnificent display at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there is a feeling that things will be different this time, who has now played two years of top-level football in Spain and enters the new season on a purple patch.

A second stint at Mallorca is exactly what Kubo needs

Kubo heads to a Mallorca side who have just been promoted to the LaLiga -- as was the case back in 2019 -- and the youngster will likely be a major factor in deciding the club's fortunes in the Spanish top flight this season.

Mallorca missed out on the LaLiga 2 title during their promotion campaign despite finishing level on points with champions Espanyol. Their primary objective for the new season will be avoiding a repeat of 2019-20 when they promptly dropped back to the second tier.

Head coach Luis Garcia would be pleased to have the Japanese youngster in his ranks. As he prepares his side for a tough challenge, the Spanish tactician can use a player who can create and score goals and carry a team on his shoulders as Kubo did at Tokyo 2020.

The talent has always been there for Kubo, who made the switch to Barcelona's La Masia academy at the age of ten. But it was during the Tokyo Games that the world witnessed what he has to offer as he guided the hosts to the semifinals of the men's football tournament.

The attacker not only was the creative fulcrum on Hajime Moriyasu's Olympic team but also contributed a goal in each of their group stage matches against Mexico, France and South Africa.

Kubo can impress new boss Ancelotti with solid showing

Kubo can force his way into Real manager Carlo Ancelotti's future plans with a good campaign for Mallorca this season. That possibility is further bolstered by the fact that Real do not expect to have their hands tied by LaLiga's rule on players from outside the European Union next summer.

A big reason why Los Blancos have found it hard to accommodate Kubo in their first-team plans is the league rule that allows only three non-EU players.

Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Eder Militao currently occupy those three spots at the Bernabeu, leaving Real with only the option of loaning out the young Samurai Blue star for another season.

That scenario could change soon. Brazilian attacker Vinicius is reportedly close to obtaining dual nationality that will free up a non-EU spot at Real next season.

If Kubo can reproduce the kind of form he displayed at his home Olympics during his loan spell Mallorca, that spot could be his for the taking.