Keisuke Honda

Keisuke Honda
本田 圭佑

Honda with A.C. Milan in 2015
Personal information
Full name Keisuke Honda[1]
Date of birth (1986-06-13) 13 June 1986
Place of birth Settsu, Osaka, Japan
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 11 12 in)[2]
Playing position Attacking midfielder / Winger
Club information
Current team
Number 10
Youth career
1994–1998 Settsu FC
1999–2001 Gamba Osaka
2002–2004 Seiryō High School
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2007 Nagoya Grampus 90 (11)
2007–2009 VVV-Venlo 68 (24)
2009–2014 CSKA Moscow 94 (20)
2014– Milan 77 (8)
National team
2005 Japan U20 1 (0)
2006–2008 Japan U23 18 (5)
2008– Japan 82 (36)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 December 2016.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 September 2016

Keisuke Honda (本田 圭佑 Honda Keisuke, born 13 June 1986) is a Japanese footballer who plays for Serie A club Milan and the Japan national football team. He plays as an attacking midfielder, but he can equally play as a winger or as a deep-lying playmaker.[3] Honda has frequently featured as a right winger in the 2014–15 Serie A season. He is also known for his accuracy from free-kicks, dribbling ability, and delivery as a dead ball specialist.

He has earned over 60 international caps since 2008, playing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and winning the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, where he was also voted Player of the Tournament.

Club career

Early career

Born and raised in Osaka, Honda had belonged to the local junior youth team at Gamba Osaka, but was not promoted to the youth team.[4] After graduating Seiryō High School, Honda began his professional career in 2004, with J1 League side Nagoya Grampus.


On 16 January 2008, Honda signed a two and half-year deal with Eredivisie side VVV-Venlo.[5][6] In his first six months at VVV, he experienced relegation for the first time in his professional career as his new side went down to Eerste Divisie, the second division. In the 2008–09 season, he scored 16 goals in 36 league appearances to help the team back into the Eredivisie.[7] He became known as Keizer Keisuke (meaning Emperor Keisuke) among the club's fans.[8] Also, Honda introduced his agent, Tetsuro Kiyooka to Maya Yoshida in 2008 and led him to VVV-Venlo two years later.[9]

CSKA Moscow

Honda scoring for CSKA in the Russian Super Cup 2013

At the end of December 2009, Honda transferred to Russian club CSKA Moscow.[10] Honda signed a 4-year contract.[11] The transfer fee was undisclosed, but VVV-Venlo was said to be very content with the fee as it almost matched their asking price; it is believed to be in the region of €6 million.[8] Honda made his debut for CSKA in the UEFA Champions League match against Sevilla.[12] In the second leg in Seville, he scored the winning goal through a direct free kick for CSKA after having set up the first goal for Tomáš Necid. This secured a 2–1 (3–2 aggregate) victory to send the club to the quarterfinals, making Honda the first Japanese player to be in the quarter-finals as well as the first to score in the knock-out stages. Honda scored his first league goal on 12 March 2010, in the home match against Amkar Perm. He scored the goal in the third minute of injury time, slotting home a pass from Necid with his left. With the goal, he secured the win for CSKA Moscow.

Honda picked up his first piece of silverware with CSKA on 22 May 2011, coming on as a second-half substitute for Alan Dzagoev in a 2-1 defeat of Alania Vladikavkaz in the Russian Cup final.[13] He netted two goals in the first half of CSKA's match against Krylia Sovetov three days later, a match that ended in a 3-0 victory for his side.[14] On 16 September 2012, Honda scored twice off of passes from Ahmed Musa, scoring the only goals in a league victory over Alania.[15]

On 13 July 2013, Honda scored CSKA's first and third goals in the club's 3-0 victory over Zenit in the Russian Super Cup match in Rostov.[16] In 2013 summer transfer window, he entered the final six months of his contract with CSKA and became free to talk to other clubs, expressing his interest in moving to a bigger club. On 11 December 2013, CSKA announced the conclusion of Honda's time at the club.[17]


On 27 October 2013, Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri announced a deal for Honda to join Milan on a free transfer in January 2014.[18][19] Honda officially joined the team on 4 January 2014 on a contract lasting until June 2017 and will wear the number 10 jersey.[20][21]

On 12 January 2014, Honda made his debut coming on as a substitute for Robinho in a 4–3 Serie A defeat to Sassuolo. On 15 January, Honda made his full debut for Milan,[22] scoring in the 3–1 Coppa Italia quarter-final win against Spezia.[23] He scored his first Serie A goal in Genoa-Milan, which was won by the Rossoneri 1-2.[24] Honda's contribution for Milan in the latter half of the 2013–14 season was considered disappointing, and he himself stated that "this is not me".[25]

On 31 August 2014, Honda scored for Milan against Lazio, netting the club's first goal of the season as the Rossoneri won 3–1 in Filippo Inzaghi's Serie A debut as manager.[26] Honda went on to score Milan's second goal against Parma on 14 September, helping Milan to win a nine-goal thriller, 5-4.[27] Honda provided an assist for Giacomo Bonaventura's opening goal and scored a bullet header to restore Milan's lead, from Ignazio Abate's cross.[28] In Milan's next match against Empoli, Honda drilled in a shot on the edge of the box equalizing for Milan as the sides drew 2–2.[29] Honda scored with a precise free kick over the Chievo wall in a 2–0 win on 4 October.[30] Honda scored his first brace playing for Milan in a 3-1 away win against Verona on 19 October.

International career

Honda during the training session at the De Koel stadium

Senior career

He was a member of the Japan team for 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and played for the U-23 national team, that qualified for 2008 Summer Olympics football tournament finals. He made a full international debut for Japan on 22 June 2008 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bahrain. On 14 July 2008, he was formally named as one of the midfielders of the Japanese U-23 national football team for the Beijing Olympics football competition.[31] He scored his first goal for the senior national team on 27 May 2009 in a friendly match against Chile at Nagai Stadium in Osaka and has since been given the nickname "Emperor Keisuke". He has scored 20 goals in 52 games for the Japan national football team from his debut in 2008, onwards.

2010 FIFA World Cup

Honda scored the only goal in Japan's 2010 FIFA World Cup match against Cameroon, finishing off Daisuke Matsui's cross into the top left corner of the net.[32] His performance in the game gained him the Man of the Match Award from FIFA and the 1-0 victory was Japan's first World Cup triumph on foreign soil.[33] In the final group-stage game against Denmark, he scored a magnificent free kick in the 17th minute from 30 yards out.[34] He then turned provider for Shinji Okazaki after making his way into the penalty area, with a Cruyff Turn that beat a Denmark player, in the 88th minute to make the score 3–1 to Japan, a performance that earned him the "Man of the Match" award once more and qualified Japan for the knockout stage.[35] In their round of 16 matchup, Japan were eliminated by Paraguay, falling 3-5 in penalty kicks after the game finished goalless through extra time.[36]

Jonathan Wilson of The Guardian cited him as a 'false nine': a player superficially employed as a centre forward but moving deeper to pull the opposition defence around the pitch.[37]

2011 AFC Asian Cup

Honda was included in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup by coach Alberto Zaccheroni. In the game against Syria, he scored a penalty kick making the score 2–1 for Japan. In the semi-finals against South Korea, he took a penalty kick, but was blocked by Jung Sung-Ryong. However, in the penalty shoot out of the game, he scored and was named "Man of the Match."[38] Honda was awarded the most valuable player of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup as Japan lifted a record fourth continental title.[39]

2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Honda missed the majority of the third round of AFC World Cup qualification due to injury he picked up while playing for his club.[40]

During the fourth round of qualifying, on 3 June 2012, in Japan's first game in Group B against Oman, Honda scored a beautiful volley just eleven minutes into the game. The game ended in 3–0 a win for Japan.[41] He continued his scoring streak against Jordan on 8 June 2012, managing to net a hat-trick; Japan went on to win 6–0.[42] He also played a crucial role during their 1-1 draw with Australia on 12 June 2012, during a corner kick, he assisted a goal which was scored by Yuzo Kurihara.[43]

He missed a couple of friendly games and one qualification game due to injury from club duty and was subsequently not included in the squad that was shocked 2-1 by Jordan on 26 March 2013.[44][45] Although not 100 percent fit, Honda was named in the squad for the game against Australia on 4 June 2013, having just won the Russian Cup with his club.[46] All Japan needed from this match was a draw to secure their place for Brazil. He managed to score a goal via penalty kick during extra time from a handball from Matt McKay, making the score 1–1.[47] The result secured Japan's qualification for the World Cup in Brazil and became the first nation to book their place at the tournament.[48]

Having won the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Japan qualified for the Confederations Cup in Brazil in 2013 and Honda was once again included in Zaccheroni's squad for the tournament.[49] After losing 3-0 to hosts Brazil in the first group match on 15 June 2013,[50] Japan faced Italy in the next game; Honda scored from the penalty spot to put Japan ahead but they fell 4-3 in a pulsating game which dumped the Asian champions out of the competition.[51]

2014 FIFA World Cup

Japan was drawn into Group C in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil having to face Colombia, Greece, and Ivory Coast. In Japan's opening game against Ivory Coast, Honda collected a pass from Yuto Nagatomo after a quick throw-in and scored with a left footed shot in the 16th minute of the game. With this goal Honda became the first Japanese player to score in two World Cups, and also claimed sole possession of being the top Japanese scorer in FIFA World Cup history with three total goals. Japan went on to lose 2–1 to the African team.[52]

2015 AFC Asian Cup

Honda was included in Javier Aguirre's 23-man squad for 2015 AFC Asian Cup. Honda started Japan's opener match against Palestine and scored a penalty kick in their 4–0 win. In next match against Iraq, Honda again netted a penalty which Japan won the match 1–0 and the first goal in 2–0 win of Jordan.

Honda participated in Japan's quarter final match against the United Arab Emirates. After the match ended 1–1 after extra time Honda, who was Japan's first kicker in the penalty shootout, missed his kick, shooting above the crossbar, as Japan ended up losing the shootout 5–4.

Personal life

Coming from a sporting family, Keisuke Honda's older brother was also a footballer. Honda's great-uncle Daisaburo was a canoeist who represented Japan in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Keisuke Honda's cousin is Tamon Honda, a professional wrestler and former Olympic wrestler, who participated in three Olympic Games in freestyle wrestling in 1984, 1988, and 1992.[53] He married Misako, a kindergarten teacher, the couple have a son together.

Career statistics


As of 4 December 2016.[54]
Club Season League Cup1 League Cup2 Continental3 Other4 Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Nagoya Grampus 2004 J.League Division 1 001010
2005 3122020352
2006 2961042348
2007 3032030353
Japan total 90115010210513
VVV-Venlo 2007–08 Eredivisie 14230172
2008–09 Eerste Divisie 3616103716
2009–10 Eredivisie 18622208
Netherlands total 682432307426
CSKA Moscow 2010 Russian Premier League 2845012210466
2011–12 258101010288
2012–13 2373121289
2013–14 181005212245
Russia total 9420912053212628
Milan 2013–14 Serie A 14121162
2014–15 29610306
2015–16 30161362
2016–17 400040
Italy total 778928610
Career total 329632651022056239177

1Includes Emperor's Cup, Russian Cup and Coppa Italia.

2Includes J.League Cup.

3Includes UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

4Includes Eredivisie/Eerste Divisie Relegation and Russian Super Cup.


Japan national team

International goals

Scores and results list Japan's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 27 May 2009 Japan Nagai Stadium, Osaka  Chile 4–0 4–0 2009 Kirin Cup
2. 10 October 2009 Japan Nissan Stadium, Yokohama  Scotland 2–0 2–0 Friendly Match
3. 14 October 2009 Japan Miyagi Stadium, Rifu  Togo 5–0 5–0 Friendly Match
4. 3 March 2010 Japan Toyota Stadium, Toyota  Bahrain 2–0 2–0 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification
5. 14 June 2010 South Africa Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  Cameroon 1–0 1–0 2010 FIFA World Cup
6. 24 June 2010 South Africa Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg  Denmark 1–0 3–1 2010 FIFA World Cup
7. 13 January 2011 Qatar Qatar SC Stadium, Doha  Syria 2–1 2–1 2011 AFC Asian Cup
8. 10 August 2011 Japan Sapporo Dome, Sapporo  South Korea 2–0 3–0 Friendly Match
9. 3 June 2012 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama  Oman 1–0 3–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
10. 8 June 2012 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama  Jordan 2–0 6–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
11. 3–0
12. 5–0
13. 6 February 2013 Japan Home's Stadium Kobe, Kobe  Latvia 2–0 3–0 Friendly
14. 4 June 2013 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama  Australia 1–1 1–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
15. 19 June 2013 Brazil Arena Pernambuco, Recife  Italy 1–0 3–4 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup
16. 14 August 2013 Japan Miyagi Stadium, Rifu  Uruguay 2–4 2–4 Friendly
17. 6 September 2013 Japan Nagai Stadium, Osaka  Guatemala 1–0 3–0 Friendly
18. 10 September 2013 Japan International Stadium Yokohama, Kanagawa  Ghana 3–1 3–1 Friendly
19. 16 November 2013 Belgium Cristal Arena, Genk  Netherlands 2–2 2–2 Friendly
20. 19 November 2013 Belgium King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels  Belgium 2–1 3–2 Friendly
21. 7 June 2014 United States Raymond James Stadium, Tampa  Zambia 1–2 4–3 Friendly
22. 3–2
23. 14 June 2014 Brazil Arena Pernambuco, Brazil  Ivory Coast 1–0 1–2 2014 FIFA World Cup
24. 14 November 2014 Japan Toyota Stadium, Toyota  Honduras 2–0 6–0 Friendly
25. 12 January 2015 Australia Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle  Palestine 3–0 4–0 2015 AFC Asian Cup
26. 16 January 2015 Australia Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane  Iraq 1–0 1–0 2015 AFC Asian Cup
27. 20 January 2015 Australia Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne  Jordan 1–0 2–0 2015 AFC Asian Cup
28. 27 March 2015 Japan Ōita Bank Dome, Ōita  Tunisia 2–0 2–0 Friendly
29. 11 June 2015 Japan Nissan Stadium, Yokohama  Iraq 1–0 4–0 Friendly
30. 3 September 2015 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama  Cambodia 1–0 3–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
31. 8 September 2015 Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  Afghanistan 6–0 6–0
32. 8 October 2015 Oman Seeb Stadium, Seeb  Syria 1–0 3–0
33. 12 November 2015 Singapore National Stadium, Singapore  Singapore 2–0 3–0
34. 17 November 2015 Cambodia Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh  Cambodia 2–0 2–0
35. 29 March 2016 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama  Syria 3–0 5–0
36. 1 September 2016 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama  United Arab Emirates 1–0 1–2 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

Appearances in major competitions

Team Competition Category Appearances Goals Team Result
Start Sub
 Japan2005 FIFA World Youth ChampionshipU-20100Round of 16
 Japan2008 Summer Olympics qualificationU-221003Qualified
 Japan2008 Summer OlympicsU-23300Round 1
 Japan2010 FIFA World Cup qualificationSenior120Qualified
 Japan2011 AFC Asian Cup qualificationSenior121Qualified
 Japan2010 FIFA World CupSenior402Round of 16
 Japan2011 AFC Asian CupSenior501Champions
 Japan2014 FIFA World Cup qualificationSenior605Qualified
 Japan2013 FIFA Confederations CupSenior301Round 1
 Japan2014 FIFA World CupSenior301Round 1
 Japan2015 AFC Asian CupSenior403Quarter-final



CSKA Moscow





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  54. Keisuke Honda profile at Soccerway
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