|Full name||Koji Nakata|
|Date of birth||July 9, 1979|
|Place of birth||Otsu, Shiga, Japan|
|Height||1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Defender, Midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
The 'other Nakata', as he is known to most non-Japanese fans, is a left-footed midfielder. A very versatile player, Nakata has established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders for Japan.
Nakata was born in Otsu on July 9, 1979. After graduating from high school, he joined Kashima Antlers in 1998. Japan national team players Masashi Motoyama, Mitsuo Ogasawara and Hitoshi Sogahata are Nakata's contemporaries. He debuted as defensive midfielder in first season and the club won the champions 1998 J1 League. From 2000, he became a regular player and constituted midfielder with Yasuto Honda, Bismarck, Motoyama and Ogasawara. In 2000, the club won all three major title in Japan J1 League, J.League Cup and Emperor's Cup. In 2001, the club won J1 League and he was also elected Best Eleven. the club also won 2002 J.League Cup.
Nakata moved from Japanese giants Kashima Antlers to France at the start of 2005 when former Japan national team manager Philippe Troussier, then the Olympique Marseille coach, signed him in a deal. After an understandably unhappy season in France (Troussier was sacked just a few months later), the frozen-out Nakata jumped at the chance to leave and by early 2006 had moved to Switzerland's top team Basel where he played as a defender.
Nakata returned to Kashima Antlers in July 2008. He played at many defensive position, defensive midfielder, left side-back and center-back. The club won the champions 2008, 2009 J1 League, 2010 Emperor's Cup, 2011 and 2012 J.League Cup. He retired end of 2014 season.
National team career
On February 5, 2000, Nakata debuted for Japan national team against Mexico. In September, he was elected U-23 Japan for 2000 Summer Olympics. Although he played as regular player, he got hurt in third match against Brazil and he could not play after the match.
In 2001 and 2002, Nakata played all matches for Japan including 2001 Confederations Cup and 2002 World Cup. At Confederations Cup, Japan won the 2nd place. At 2002 World Cup, he played full time all 4 matches.
After 2002 World Cup, Nakata played as defensive midfielder under new manager Zico. Although his opportunity to play decreased, he was elected Japan for many competition, 2003, 2005 Confederations Cup, 2004 Asian Cup and 2006 World Cup. At 2004 Asian Cup, he played 4 matches and scored 2 goals in semifinal and final, and Japan won the champions. He played 57 games and scored 2 goals for Japan until 2007.
National Team statistics
|Japan national team|
Appearances in major competitions
|Japan||AFC Youth Championship 1998||U-19||2nd Place|
|Japan||1999 FIFA World Youth Championship||U-20||7||0||0||2nd Place|
|Japan||2000 Summer Olympics||U-23||3||0||0||Quarter-finals|
|Japan||2001 FIFA Confederations Cup||Senior||2nd Place|
|Japan||2002 FIFA World Cup||Senior||4||0||0||Round of 16|
|Japan||2003 FIFA Confederations Cup||Senior||1||1||0||Group Stage|
|Japan||2004 AFC Asian Cup||Senior||1||3||2||Champions|
|Japan||2005 FIFA Confederations Cup||Senior||0||2||0||Group Stage|
|Japan||2006 FIFA World Cup||Senior||0||1||0||Group Stage|
Goals for Senior National Team
|1.||3 August 2004||Jinan, China||Bahrain||4-3||Won||2004 AFC Asian Cup Semi-Final|
|2.||7 August 2004||Beijing, China||China PR||3-1||Won||2004 AFC Asian Cup Final|
- Kashima Antlers
- A3 Champions Cup: 2003
- J1 League: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2009
- Emperor's Cup: 2000, 2010
- J.League Cup: 2000, 2002, 2011, 2012
- Suruga Bank Championship: 2012, 2013
- Olympique Marseille
- FC Basel
- AFC Asian Cup: 2004
- FIFA Confederations Cup Runner-up: 2001
- FIFA World Youth Championship Runner-up: 1999