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Japan hero Honda wants to move to Europe´s elite

6 July 2010 11:40

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's World Cup hero and CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda has confirmed his desire to move to Europe's bigger clubs, with Real Madrid ultimately in his sights, press reports said Tuesday.

Honda scored two goals and set up another in leading Japan to their first-ever World Cup second-round on foreign soil, amid media reports linking him with a move to AC Milan.

Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Chelsea and Manchester City are also believed to be interested in signing Honda, who turned 24 on the eve of Japan's 1-0 upset of Cameroon in their World Cup opener.

Japan lost 1-0 to the Netherlands but stunned Denmark 3-1 in their final group game to reach the last 16. They bowed out to Paraguay 5-3 on penalties after a scoreless draw.

"I think you all know what my wish is. I'm always looking up," Honda told students Monday at his high school in the provincial city of Kanazawa, according to media reports, when asked about his future in the Russian league.

Honda has already stated his desire to play in England or Spain, where he says he would eventually like to don the number 10 shirt for Real Madrid.

He said he was currently unaware of a possible transfer. But he later told local governor Masanori Tanimoto, in a conversation caught on camera: "I have been doing my job with a wish to play at higher levels. So if there is a chance, it will be possible."

After four years with J-League powerhouse Nagoya Grampus, Honda moved to Dutch side VVV Venlo in early 2008 and helped them gain to promotion to the top Dutch league.

He joined CSKA in January in a nine-million-euro (11.5-million-dollar) deal. He set up a goal and scored another in a 3-2 aggregate victory over Sevilla in the Champions League, making him the first Japanese player to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Honda could cost bidders as much as 20 million euros, the Sports Hochi daily said.

CSKA has turned down a proposal from AC Milan to pay 10 million euros for Honda, the daily said, citing Italian media.

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