5 Years After Wowing Marcelo, Real Madrid’s Teenage Phenom Trains With First Team

16-year-old midfielder Takuhiro ‘Pipi’ Nakai certainly has shades of Zidane.

It’s been five years since Real Madrid defender Marcelo showed up at an Alevín A training session (La Fábrica’s U-12 category) and watched on in disbelief as Takuhiro “Pipi” Nakai, then age 11, dribbled in a style that the Brazilian admitted was beyond his level of understanding.  

Pipi is now 16 and playing regularly with Juvenil B (U-18) with the expectation that he’ll also play some matches in the Juvenil A category (U-19) this season. Pipi’s also already trained with Raúl’s Castilla side (Real’s reserve team), but he was handed the honor of training with Real Madrid’s first team on both Monday and Tuesday. 

Given the current international break and with many Real players away with their national teams, it’s only natural that manager Zinedine Zidane spends time with some of the club’s more promising youngsters, but a 16-year-old forcing his way into the conversation is no small feat.

Here he is playing with the U-19 side a couple weeks ago.  

And here are some extended highlights from his 2019-20 season with the U-17 team. He's got some Zidane in him. 

Born in Otsu, Japan, Pipi became a star at the age of 7 when showcasing his talents on national television. At the age of nine, he was signed by Real Madrid. 

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