“I don’t know what to say, but I’m much obliged to you all for my 2 years (with Cerezo Osaka). Thank you so much. It was the last game of the season today, and I am grateful to all the players for fighting with the high spirits and showed us such fantastic attitude until the right end. And also, much appreciated for the victory they brought for us. At today’s meeting prior to the match, I didn’t tell too much but said something like ‘I wish you to produce everything we have done in the last 2 years in today’s match’. I passed this message on then faced the game, and all my lads showed exactly what I wanted to see, I just lost word of how to describe my feeling of the appreciation to them. I have never told (in public) this in this last year, but I am so obliged to the captain Hotaru Yamaguchi for his hard work and efforts to the team. I am filled with gratitude for his spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion to the team. Of course, it wasn’t just Hotaru, but because of other players who trusted in me and worked with me for the 2 years, we achieved to this result. I am so grateful. Today is the last day for me in Cerezo, but I’ll never forget you all the many supporters and fans. And want to express once again, my gratitude to all the people involved in the team. Thank you ever so much. And to all the people who are here at the moment, thank you for your devoted work for this year.”
■ Hotaru Yamaguchi
Q: Could you describe your feeling after the last match under leadership of Mr. Yoon?
“I have nothing but gratitude to Mr. Yoon. He trusted me the best, appointed me as the captain for this season, there were some tough times, but there were also good times, and we ended at the 7th of the league that is not bad at all. As the way of ending, I think we did produce everything we learned with Mr. Yoon in today’s match, so I am feeling good with no regret.”
Q: In his interview a little earlier, Mr. Yoon said ‘Not only playing happily, but by winning, we all become happy’. Do you think you did it for his last match?
“At today’s game, even though we were very conscious for ‘the soccer to win’, we played tough but happy, there were daunting works but with some pleasure, and we all were playing with understanding. And I am happy that we did it with the result.”
Q: Did Mr. Yoon inspire you to become a better player?
“Because my position is the same (as Mr. Yoon used to be), I’ve learnt a lot from him, so I try not to forget what I’ve learnt and will keep working hard in future too.”
■ Kenyu Sugimoto
“It’s just so grateful to win. It was tough season for me, but we all must go through some tough periods sometime, so I will make this experience to good one for the next season.”
Q: What do you think the wall you faced in this season was?
“I don’t think it was a wall, but it’s true that I couldn’t score, and that’s regrettable. I have to think about it well, and want to score more in next season.”
Q: Can you think back on yourself in this season and explain?
“Like, disappointing, it wasn’t the season I satisfied, and to be honest, it was regrettable season for this year and also year before too. Because I scored 22 goals in the last season it might made my name popular, but I still couldn’t score when I should have scored, and it maybe sounds weird but I even feel the last season was even more regrettable. It’s been frustrated both this season and last season too.”
Q: Has anything changed by meeting Mr. Yoon?
“Don’t know (with laughter). Just feeling ‘Thank you for the 2 years’. He always believed in me and sent me onto the pitch, we had quarrels and arguments and there were many clashes between us too, but I believe that also developed the trust in us. I’ve met great coaches during process of my progress and Mr. Yoon is one of them. I will keep working hard and would like to show him my further development.”