In order to be able to correctly assess Makoto Hasebe's extraordinary endurance performance, one has to consider which football players were professional colleagues in his first years as a professional.

In the 2002/2003 season he played several times with Ned Zelic for the Urawa Red Diamonds on the field.

Peter Hess

Sports editor.

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The Australian international who made a brief guest appearance at Frankfurt Eintracht in 1996. The Bundesliga hunter was called Giovane Elber in Hasebe's first year as a regular in the Japanese elite league. Followed by Ailton, a certain Fredi Bobic appeared in the front of the list of strikers, who scored 14 Bundesliga goals for Hannover 96 in the 2002/2003 season.

Zelic now works in Germany for a player advisory agency.

Elber owns a huge cattle farm in Brazil and supports FC Bayern as a brand ambassador.

Ailton tries alternately in his Brazilian homeland, in Dallas (Texas) and in Bremen in a more or less dignified way to market his former good name.

Fredi Bobic recently switched to Hertha BSC as the sports director of Frankfurter Eintracht.

Makoto Hasebe is still on a top football team 19 years after making his professional debut.

And not as a mascot or factotum, but as a role model and starting eleven candidate for Frankfurter Eintracht.

The lower exposure is good for you

"Everything is great, I feel in top shape, better than a year and a half ago," said the former captain of the Japanese national team this week.

At that time, he had set the plan to stop playing top football in the summer of 2021.

He could still keep up, but it was getting harder and harder for him.

Especially when Hasebe could not play Libero in the back three, but was brought forward by coach Adi Hütter to defensive midfield in order to have more influence on the build-up of the game.

The role requires more leg work, engages him in more tackles, and is more stressful overall.

“Nothing for a man my age,” he flirted at the time.

Now Hasebe says: "I am able to play in both positions."

How does it come that he soon feels fitter again at 38 than when he was in his mid-30s? “I don't know either, I'm surprised too.” Of course, it has to do with his exemplary professional approach and impeccable lifestyle. And then the Asian benefits from not being a national player anymore and the fact that he last experienced a season with Eintracht without the burden of the European Cup. 29 Bundesliga games, of which only 19 were over 90 minutes, did not cost his body any grains, but rather developed it positively.

Hasebe exudes an irrepressible desire for football these days.

He goes ahead with many exercises in preparation, always with a positive charisma.

The Turkish newcomer Ali Akman has registered what is special about the Japanese.

“He always watches what I'm doing, often runs after me, during warm-up training he stands behind me and copies my movements,” Hasebe noticed benevolently.

Attention to detail

Just like the new trainer.

“I'm very impressed,” says Hasebe about Oliver Glasner and praises the Austrian's demeanor and personality. “That's the most important thing for me.

He is open, honest, communicative. ”The Japanese emphasizes above all Glasner's attention to detail.

"He cares about every little thing."

In the first week of training, Glasner involved his sweeper in a long conversation on the pitch, which shows how much he values ​​the opinion of his oldest player. Hasebe didn't want to reveal much about the content: “It was about his philosophy. He wanted to know from me how we played. If you've seen his last club, Wolfsburg, you know that he puts a lot of emphasis on defense. And that's where we need to improve. We received too many goals. "

Hasebe does not claim a place in the starting XI, he has nothing of a top dog. "It's starting from scratch for me too, with Zalazar and Hrustic we recently got new strong players for the sixth position." On the other hand, he is looking forward to the competition. “Everything is going great,” he says. Maybe he'll hang on for another year? "It's not really planned, but sometimes life plans differently."