Honda’s inspiration from wide-eyed kid to football superstar

It took some grainy black and white video footage of a certain Brazilian superstar to ignite the fire in the belly of Keisuke Honda to chase his professional footballing dream.

Like many players who have made it to the top of the sport, Honda’s desire to reach the pinnacle of football started as a young kid.

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Perched in the lounge room of his home in Osaka, Honda’s father would show him videos of Pele playing and starring at the FIFA World Cup.

“I was six or seven years old. My father showed me the videos of the World Cup and the video was in black and white,” Honda explains to

“It was the highlights of Pele’s World Cup. I was small but I realised Pele was a really good player and I thought at that time I want to become a great player in the future. I wanted to play at a World Cup in the future.

“Then when I was 12 years old it was the World Cup in France and I followed [Zinedine] Zidane.

“He played so great and France became champions. I followed all the games of him [Zidane] and France and that World Cup I was inspired.

“I already knew what I should do and what is important for playing soccer and improving so I really focused on watching the games.”

From that point on there was little doubt what Honda was going to do with his life.

Keisuke Honda
Keisuke Honda scored on his Hyundai A-League debut for Melbourne Victory.

Now 32 and playing in the Hyundai A-League with Melbourne Victory, Honda can reflect on a decorated career where he has excelled for both club and country.

A megastar in Japan for his contribution for the Samurai Blue, Honda has also been a star in club football at clubs like AC Milan, CSKA Moscow and Pachuca in Mexico.

And the key to his success is simple.

“I didn’t take any free day,” Honda says.

“Even if the manager gave me a day off, I would never take that. I always come to the pitch and trained hard, even alone.

“That’s the important things, what I did, why I could play abroad. I just had to practice more than anyone.”

It is that mantra and work ethic that got Honda to the pinnacle of the sport.

Honda scored against Senegal in Russia, becoming the first Japanese player to score at three FIFA World Cups.
Keisuke Honda celebrates scoring a goal at the FIFA World Cup.

Hear more from Honda’s EXCLUSIVE chat with in the video player above.

You can watch Keisuke Honda in action when Melbourne Victory hosts Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday, December 1 at Marvel Stadium.

Also see the match LIVE and FREE on 10 Boss or tenplay, with kick off at 7.50pm (AEDT). You can also stream it live on the MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers.  Click here to purchase tickets.