Takahara with Shimizu S-Pulse in 2012
|Full name||Naohiro Takahara|
|Date of birth||June 4, 1979|
|Place of birth||Mishima, Shizuoka, Japan|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|1995–1997||Shimizu Higashi High School|
|2001||→ Boca Juniors (loan)||6||(1)|
|2010||→ Suwon Samsung Bluewings (loan)||12||(4)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of December 31, 2015|
Takahara was born in Mishima in June 4, 1979. After graduating from high school, he joined Júbilo Iwata in 1998. In 1998, the club won J.League Cup and he was selected New Hero awards. In 1999, the club won J1 League and Asian Club Championship. The club also won the 2nd place 1999–00 and 2000–01 Asian Club Championship. In August 2001, he moved to Boca Juniors on loan.
In 2002, he returned to Júbilo Iwata. The club went on to win the J1 League, while Takahara became the top scorer and was elected Most Valuable Player of the year. End of 2002 season, he moved to Hamburger SV. On December 3, 2006, he scored his first hat-trick in the German Bundesliga in a league game against Alemannia Aachen.
In January 2008 he moved to Urawa Reds for a transfer fee of around ¥180 million (around $1.7 million). Due to a disagreement with the style of coach Volker Finke, who had taken over as coach of Urawa in 2009, Takahara was leased to Suwon Samsung Bluewings of the South Korean K League 1 in July of the following year. On July 31, 2010, he made his debut as a substitute for the 39th minute of the match against Gwangju FC. On 29 August, he scored a goal in the 39th minute of the second half of the game against FC Seoul. He helped victorious game 4-2 and won the MVP in this game.
In 2011, he returned to Japan and signed with Shimizu S-Pulse. After that, he played for J2 League club Tokyo Verdy (2013–14) and J3 League club SC Sagamihara (2014–15). In December 2015, along with legendary Japanese judoka Tadahiro Nomura, Takahara founded Okinawa SV. He served as president as well as playing manager for the club.
In August 1995, Takahara was selected Japan U-17 national team for 1995 U-17 World Championship. He played all 3 matches and scored 1 goal. In April 1999, he was also selected Japan U-20 national team for 1999 World Youth Championship. He played all 7 matches and scored 3 goals. Japan won the 2nd place. In February 2000, he was selected Japan national team for 2000 Asian Cup qualification. At this qualification, on February 13, he debuted against Singapore. He played all 3 matches and 3 goals and Japan won the qualify for 2000 Asian Cup.
In September, he was selected Japan U-23 national team for 2000 Summer Olympics. He played all 4 matches and scored 3 goals in first match and quarterfinal. In October, he played at 2000 Asian Cup. He played 5 matches and scored 5 goals. Japan won the champions. However he missed the 2002 World Cup, co-hosted by his home country and South Korea, because of lung disease (venous thrombosis).
After 2002 World Cup, Takahara played at 2003 Confederations Cup. Although his convocation for Japan decreased due to the schedule, he played as regular player when he was elected Japan. In 2006, he was elected Japan for 2006 World Cup and he played all 3 matches. After 2006 World Cup, he played at 2007 Asian Cup. He played 6 matches and scored 4 goals, and became a top scorer. He played 57 games and scored 23 goals for Japan until 2008.
- His goals and performances were celebrated by Eintracht supporters by singing to the melody of Gala's Freed from desire. After successful matches Takahara often joined the faithful to jump up and down the same way.
- Takahara was the first Japanese player to play in the Argentine First Division league.
- Takahara is the third Japanese to play in Bundesliga after Yasuhiko Okudera and Kazuo Ozaki.
2007 Asian Cup
Takahara finished top scorer after an impressive performance at the 2007 Asian Cup. He scored against Qatar in the first match, who Japan tied 1-1. Japan won the next match, against United Arab Emirates and Takahara impressed coach Ivica Osim with two goals. In the quarterfinal match against rivals Australia, Takahara scored the tying goal and sent the game to penalty kicks. Although Takahara missed his spot-kick, heroic saves from goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi sent Japan through into the semifinals, where they lost to Saudi Arabia 2-3.
- As of end of 2015 season
|Suwon Samsung Bluewings||2010||12||4||1||0||–||1||0||14||4|
* Includes Intertoto Cup
Honors and awards
- FIFA World Youth Championship Runner-Up: 1999
- AFC U-17 Championship: 1994
- AFC Asian Cup: 2000
- AFC Champions League: 1998–99
- Asian Super Cup: 1999
- J1 League: 1999, 2002
- DFB-Ligapokal: 2003
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2005
- AFC U-19 Championship top scorer: 1998
- AFC Asian Cup Best Eleven: 2000
- Selected to AFC All Star Team: 2000
- J.League Most Valuable Player: 2002
- J.League Top Scorer: 2002
- J.League Best XI: 2002
- AFC Asian Cup top scorer: 2007
- (in German) "Takahara leaves Eintracht" Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine, eintracht.de, accessed January 4, 2008.
- (in Japanese) "沖縄SV立ち上げの高原は「代表兼監督兼選手」…県3部スタートも将来的なJリーグ入り視野"
- "Takahara suffering lung disease again". ESPN. 31 May 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- Japan National Football Team Database
- "Spreading Their Wings: Japanese Soccer Stars Seek Success Overseas", web-japan.org, accessed October 20, 2011.
- Nippon Sports Kikaku Publishing inc./日本スポーツ企画出版社, "J1&J2&J3選手名鑑 2015 (NSK MOOK)", 14 February 2015, Japan, ISBN 978-4905411246 (p. 269 out of 298)
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