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Pride. Literally, pride, self-esteem.
Although every professional soccer player has this in their heart,
Each player's approach and mindset is very different.
This season's WE ARE GAMBA OSAKA is,
Deep in the hearts of the players,
Revealing each person's pride.

During my childhood, I took up various extracurricular activities, but the only one I continued was soccer.
"I also went to swimming and piano lessons, but none of them interested me at all. The only thing I continued with was soccer, which I said I wanted to play. From there, I realized that I loved soccer, and I began to feel a desire to get better and not lose to my teammates. Those feelings are the origin of who I am today, and they are also something I cherish and take pride in."
In particular, he was inspired by the high level of his peers at Senano Kobe, where he played as an elementary school student, and was called the "golden generation" by those around him. The days when he couldn't play in the games he wanted there ignited a fire in Kurokawa's heart.
"At the time, I played a variety of positions, including FW and side half, but everyone around me was really good. I was confident that I was just as good at dribbling as the players who were playing in the game, but overall, I felt like I was inferior to them. But I was able to accept that honestly, so I think I had a strong desire to get better and to win the battle for a position with my teammates and play in the game."
Years have passed, and even now that he has become a professional soccer player and achieved his 100th appearance in the J1 League in the 16th round against FC Tokyo, he still has that same pride. In recent years, he has played consistently as a left-back, but it is thanks to that pride that he has not become complacent.
"In my first year as a pro, when I wasn't playing in any J1 matches at all, my pride kept me going and helped me to keep my spirits up, and even now that I'm playing in matches, I approach my daily training with a sense of crisis and pride that "if I get even a little too excited, I'll lose my position right away" and "I'm the worst." However, when it comes to a match, it's a different story. I always go into a match believing that I'm the best and that I can make the plays that will lead my team to victory. Because I believe that in the professional world, you can't get results without confidence."
In addition, the number "4" he has been wearing since this year also strengthens his pride. With the hope entrusted to him by Gamba legend Hiroki FUJIHARU(FC Ryukyu), his current goal is to lead the team to a title.
"Haru-kun brought Gamba the title wearing the number 4, but I haven't been able to achieve that. On the contrary, in recent years we have often been caught up in the relegation battle, and there have been consecutive seasons where I have not left anything behind for Gamba. I believe that unless we break through that situation, I will not be able to truly take over the number 4, and this year I have turned that feeling into a responsibility and am on the pitch with the intention of playing in a way that will lead Gamba to the title."
Perhaps it's because of his determination, or perhaps it's the result of the experience he has accumulated. In recent years, Kurokawa's play has become more stable and even dignified. When I told him about it, he laughed and said, "No, no, I want to keep playing fresh!"

Text by Takamura Misa

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