SHUNSUKE NAKAMURA is still playing football at the age of 42 with Japanese side Yokohama FC.

The Celtic free-kick icon has been an incredibly fit player his whole career and it doesn’t surprise us Naka is still playing into his forties.

Speaking to The Guardian this week, Nakamura confirmed he’s still a Celtic fan after all these years and keeps up to date with the club’s fortunes.

That unfortunately means he’s watched this season unravel from afar.

“I still follow Celtic and watch the news and watch the games,” Nakamura says.

“It has not been as enjoyable in recent weeks and months as Rangers dominated from start to finish to prevent their Glasgow rivals winning 10 titles in a row.

“I think Rangers were strong this season and deserved to win the championship. I hope Celtic will use the disappointment of Rangers’ victory to come back and win next season.”

During his time at Celtic, Nakamura felt he fitted in well in Glasgow even though his English was poor. If you saw Naka walking around Celtic Park he would be flanked with an interpreter who was also in the dressing room with the midfielder during team talks.

“My playing style, my life and my family’s life all fitted in well there,”

“My children’s kindergarten was very welcoming to us, and they tried to understand my conversation even though my English was not great. I felt the local people respected and cared for others. So, it was a fun and happy time for us.”

Naka didn’t talk about moments on the pitch when it came to his time at Celtic. The Japanese footballing legend claimed meeting Gordon Strachan and Peter Lawwell and what came with it is something that sticks in his mind.

“Meeting the CEO Peter Lawwell and the manager Gordon Strachan was the most memorable experience for me. Before every match, manager Strachan only said to me to ‘enjoy it’.

“He trusted me and left me to play the way I wanted to play. I am very grateful to him for taking good care of me and my family as well. I learnt a lot from him. Manager Strachan understood that I was the type of player who played by instinct and feeling.”

The Manchester Utd free-kick at Celtic Park has to be up there for the player and the midfielder has also previously stated that goal at Rugby Park to seal the league was an incredible feeling.

As set-piece takers go, Naka has to be one of the best in our history. It was incredible to watch.


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