Takayuki Morimoto (森本 貴幸, Morimoto Takayuki, born 7 May 1988) is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Paraguayan Primera División club Sportivo Luqueño. He holds the record for the youngest Japanese player to make his professional debut and the youngest scorer in J1 League history. Morimoto represented Japan at the 2004 and 2008 versions of the Toulon Tournament, the 2004 AFC Youth Championship, the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
|Full name||Takayuki Morimoto|
|Date of birth||7 May 1988|
|Place of birth||Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|2013||→ Al-Nasr Dubai (loan)||13||(6)|
|2013–2015||JEF United Chiba||73||(17)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of end of 2018 season|
Born in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Morimoto began his youth career with Tsudayama FC in 1995, before transferring to Verdy Junior in 1998. After three-year, Morimoto moved to Verdy Junior Youth in 2001, and remained until 2004, when he was sold to Tokyo Verdy.
On 13 March 2004, Morimoto made his J1 League debut for Tokyo Verdy against Júbilo Iwata at the age of 15 years, 10 months and 6 days, a league record for youngest player to debut. He scored his first goal against JEF United Ichihara on 5 May of the same year, two days before his 16th birthday, another league record for youngest goal scorer. He captured the J.League Rookie of the Year Award for the 2004 season. During the 2004 season, Morimoto was teammates with former Cerro Porteño player Nozomi Hiroyama. In the 2005 season at Tokyo Verdy, Morimoto was teammates with Riki Kitawaki, who would play in Paraguay before Morimoto would do the same several years later. On 23 July 2006, Tokyo Verdy announced a one-year loan deal sending Morimoto to Catania of Serie A.
Morimoto made his Serie A debut on 28 January 2007 during an away game against Atalanta. He entered the game at the 83rd minute and scored the equalising goal, his first, just five minutes later. On 13 March 2007, it was confirmed by Catania that Morimoto had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee and would be out for at least six months, ruling him out for the remainder of the 2006–07 season. Despite the serious injury, Catania recognised his true potential and he completed a permanent transfer deal with Catania in June 2007.
On 14 December 2008, Morimoto signed a three-year contract extension with Catania lasting to 2011.
Morimoto had a breakthrough season for Catania during the 2008–09 season, as he scored 10 goals in 25 league and Coppa Italia games, while also being credited with several assists. Brazilian and Milan star Alexandre Pato told Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport that he believes Morimoto is the best young player in Serie A and has compared him to Brazilian legend Ronaldo.
Despite all the talent and all the potential, the striker has never really lived up to all the expectations following an improvement in each of his first three seasons in Sicily. During the 2009–10 season, Morimoto scored an additional five goals, adding a further two during the 2010–11 league campaign. His performances have often been over-shadowed by the likes of Giuseppe Mascara, Maxi López, Jorge Martínez and Gionatha Spinesi, while the signing of Argentine international Gonzalo Bergessio also limited his chances to feature.
On 11 July 2011, Catania confirmed to have sold Morimoto to newly promoted Serie A club Novara in a co-ownership bid. Morimoto's season was hampered by injuries which limited the Japanese international to just 18 league appearances, producing four goals. At the end of the season, Novara was relegated to Serie B after placing 19th, and Morimoto officially returned to Catania on 21 June 2012.
JEF United ChibaEdit
In October 2020, Morimoto signed for Greek Football League club AEP Kozani, for an undisclosed fee. Having not being able to play because of the league being indefinitely suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic he asked for his release, making him a free agent.
In January 2021, Primera División Paraguaya team Sportivo Luqueño confirmed through their president that Morimito was going to arrive to Paraguay to sign for the club. In February 2021, Morimoto signed with the club. He was presented by the club through Twitter. He joined former Paraguayan national team players Edgar Benitez, Guillermo Beltran and Luis Cabral. On 17 April 2021, Morimoto debuted for Sportivo Luqueño against Nacional Asunción in a 1–0 away defeat, being substituted onto thr field in the 81st for Guillermo Beltran.
National team careerEdit
Morimoto has represented Japan at the Japan U-20 national team level at both the 2004 AFC Youth Championship and the 2005 World Youth Championship. In 2008, he was a member of the Japan U-23 national team for the 2008 Summer Olympics, where the team was eliminated in the preliminary round, losing all three matches and only managing to score one goal.
On 10 October 2009, Morimoto made his debut for the senior national team against Scotland, coming on as a substitute for Ryoichi Maeda in a 2–0 win. On 14 October 2009, he made his first start and scored his first goal against Togo in a 5–0 win.
In March 2021, Morimoto was involved in a transit accident in Paraguay, collisioning with a motorcycle.
In October 2021, Morimoto was arrested for molesting young disabled children. His case is set to take place in late 2021. 
|JEF United Chiba||2013||12||2||2||0||-||14||2|
National team statisticsEdit
Awards and honoursEdit
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 January 2019.
- Takayuki Morimoto at J.League (in Japanese)
- "Takayuki Morimoto :: Takayuki Morimoto ::".
- "Morimoto, 15, breaks J-League record". ESPNsoccernet. 5 May 2004. Retrieved 20 July 2006.
- "Japan – J-League Awards". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 20 July 2006.
- "Japanese teen Morimoto seals loan move to Italy". Reuters. 23 July 2006. Retrieved 23 July 2006.[dead link]
- "Tactical Formation". Football-Lineups.com. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
- Gazzetta dello Sport (27 January 2007). "Morimoto, favola di Catania" (in Italian). Retrieved 28 January 2007.
- "Takayuki Morimoto signs new Catania deal". tribalfootball.com. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
- "Morimoto Meglio Di Balotelli". goal.com. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "Takayuki Morimoto al Novara" (in Italian). Calcio Catania. 11 July 2011. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Catania confirm Morimoto exit". Yahoo! Eurosport UK. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "Ex-Catania striker Morimoto moving to Frontale". The Japan Times. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- "Un japonés "clase A" reforzará al Sportivo Luqueño".
- "Diario HOY | la inspiración samuray en Luqueño".
- "De pie señores: Se viene el refuerzo de Sportivo Luqueño: El japonés Takayuki Morimoto". 2 February 2021.
- "Sportivo Luqueño (2021)".
- Goal.com (14 July 2008). "Japan Name Olympic Squad". Retrieved 17 July 2008.
- Japan National Football Team Database
- "Escándalo con un futbolista japonés que llegó como figura a Paraguay: Chocó una motocicleta, se fugó y dio positivo en su control de alcoholemia".
- Nippon Sports Kikaku Publishing inc./日本スポーツ企画出版社, "J1&J2&J3選手名鑑ハンディ版 2018 (NSK MOOK)", 7 February 2018, Japan, ISBN 978-4905411529 (p. 168 out of 289)
- Japan – Takayuki Morimoto – Profile with news, career statistics and history – Soccerway
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