Hiroki Sakai Biography

Wed 24 November 2021 | 20:29

From Japan to France, Hiroki played 4 years away from his country and spend most of his time in Marseille, and he earned some valuable lessons which made him the best in Japan. What did he learn and what did he achieve? we welcome to Hiroki Sakai biography.

Asia has always been lost in the shadows of continents that are good at football, such as Europe and America. But if we want to look closely, we would notice some exceptional players who, if given the chance, can become better than any world-class player. Hiroki is one of those players.

Let us introduce the subject of today's article. Hiroki Sakai is a well-known Japanese soccer player who was born on April 12, 1990. A professional footballer from Japan is best known for his time with the Marseille club as a right defender. He's also recognized for his time with the Japanese national team as a defender.

Hiroki Sakai is a Japanese professional footballer who now represents the Japan national team and plays for Ligue 1 club



The defender was born and reared in Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan, and his two elder brothers were the ones who initially introduced him to football.

He started out as a striker before switching to full back. Sakai played high school football for ten years before joining the Kashiwa Reysol U15 club in 2003.

Everything you need to know about Hiroki Sakai biography

Now, without further ado let's hop into the article and chase the trace of this exceptional defender.

Hiroki Sakai information

Let's start from the beginning and look at the most significant facts. Keep in mind that this is the first and most important step in reading this article since we want you to get to know the athlete before reading about his career or personal life.

Personal information

  • Full name:

    Hiroki Sakai

  • Date of birth:

    12 April 1990

  • Age:


  • Star Sign:


  • Star sign features:

    Ambitious, optimistic, and creative

  • Nationality:


  • Place of birth:

    Kashiwa, Japan

  • Marital status:


  • Religion:


Football information

  • Position:


  • Total appearances:


  • Club appearances:


  • National appearances:


  • Foot:


Last team:

Urawa Red Diamonds   


Physical stats and appearance

  • Height:

    1,85 m

  • Hair color:


  • Skin color:


  • Facial hair:


Now that you've learned the most crucial facts about Hiroki Sakai, there's nothing stopping us from delving deeper into the biography of Hiroki Sakai.

Hiroki Sakai early life

Let us start

Hiroki Sakai life story

from the beginning and see where he started from. Sakai, who was born in Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan, was brought to football by his two elder brothers and joined a school football team in third grade. He started out as a striker before switching to full back. 

Sakai played high school football for ten years before joining the Kashiwa Reysol U15 club in 2003.

The hero of our story worked his way up through the ranks of the

Kashiwa Reysol

, learning his craft under Tatsuma Yoshida.

He eventually made his way up to the U16 and U18 teams. Sakai joined Mogimirin EC for a short–term study abroad, saying that the experience helped him strengthen his right–back and center–back positions, but he returned to Japan in November 2009.

Hiroki Sakai profile

Now that we have talked about

Hiroki Sakai childhood

, let us analyze Hiroki Sakai's behavior in the field and talk about his playstyle and goal celebration. We will also take a look at his reception and how people and his playmates loved him in the field.

Style of play

Considering his position and of course,

Hiroki Sakai nationality

which will give him a certain playstyle as all countries have a unique football style of play, this player is a right fit in the defensive position.

He is a strong tackler and getting past him is a great deal. With a decent physicality, Hiroki becomes an unpassable wall in one on one situations. But this makes him an easy target for yellow cards and even red ones. He likes short passes and is not good at crossing the ball.

All in all, Hiroki is the defender that every manager will need in important games.


Hiroki is loved by the fans because of his service done for the Japan national team.

The 183-centimeter defender, who is known for his versatility and endurance, has appeared in 64 games for Japan and has one goal to his credit. He was a member of the 2014 and 2018 World Cup squads, as well as the 2012 London Olympics team that finished fourth.

Now that he is back in his hometown, it is expected that he will continue his service not only on an international level but also on a domestic level for one more decade or so.

Goal celebration

Hiroki has not scored that many goals in his career, which is normal considering his position in the game, however, for those goals that he has scored to this day, he doesn’t have any specific goal celebration like Ronaldo or



After the goal, her prefers to share his joy with his teammates or the typical pointing to the sky thanking God or gestures like this.

For the next part of

Hiroki Sakai biography

let us take look at his life outside football.

Hiroki Sakai outside football

It seems that Hiroki doesn't want to be open to the interviewers or people who are interested in his personal life or life outside football.

There is very little information about his lifestyle but what is apparent is that he really enjoys spending time in the open or nature. He is also a family man and spends most of his free time with his family.

This defender’s favorite food is Miso soup. "Take just miso soup since miso soup is a must for me," Sakai once stated.

Sakai began learning


after transferring to Hannover 96 in 2012 and now studies it twice a week in addition to English. Sakai has spoken out on German and French culture after relocating to Europe.

Many football players bind their life with football and anything that they do has something to do with football and Hiroki is one of those players, thus it is hard to talk about any activity which is not related to football.

Hiroki Sakai personal life

Hiroki Sakai date of birth

is the 12th of April, 1990, which makes him 31 years old. Examining his official Instagram account reveals that he is the father of a newborn girl.  Here is a bonus fact for you, Sakai released his first book, "Resetting Power 'Nature and the Mind Becomes Stronger' 46 Concept," in May 2018.

The odd thing is that he has not talked about his beliefs, thus

Hiroki Sakai religion

is unknown.

Let us talk about his personal life in this section of Hiroki Sakai biography. We will try to uncover any information related to his personal life.

Now back to the Hiroki Sakai biography and his family.

Family, children, and relationship

As said before Hiroki is a family man and likes to keep his life at a balance between family and football.

Sakai married a non-celebrity woman in 2014, and he characterized her as supportive of his football career. In November 2014, it was revealed that he would become a father, and in January 2015, his wife gave birth to a baby girl.


The 31-year-old seems like a kind man but there is no record of his participation in any charity events. It is expected that this player would appear in one in a near future.

Legal issues

There were no criminal records found regarding this player, however, to prevent this section of Hiroki Sakai biography to be left empty let us talk about the controversies that he was involved in.

The newest developments in the Neymar racism scandal imply otherwise, days after French Football Federation head Noel Le Graet asserted that racism does not exist in football.

Following the heated PSG-Marseille match, which saw up to five players sent off, with star forward


charging Brazil defender Alvaro Gonzalez of racism, Ligue 1 debates on racism erupted.

PSG and Marseille both issued comments in the aftermath of the event, stating that racism has no place in football. Alvaro Gonzalez, the player accused of abusing Neymar, also turned to Twitter to protest his innocence.

Following the incident,

Ligue 1

declared that it will examine the charges, with the disciplinary committee reviewing film from the PSG-Marseille match in order to decide the next steps.

PSG has reportedly submitted French football authorities a video showing Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez throwing racial slurs at Neymar, according to media sources. Other lip-reading specialists from Spain, however, rejected the accusations, claiming that the Ligue 1 defender was innocent.

In response to the Ligue 1 issue, Spanish radio station Cadena COPE has reported that Neymar uttered a racist slur during the PSG-Marseille match. According to the station, the PSG attacker called Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai a "Chinese s***" during the Ligue 1 match, and the Daily Mail claims that PSG has video footage of the incident.

Hiroki Sakai career statistics

Moving along in

Hiroki Sakai bio

, we got to the section in which we will cover his international and club career as well as his achievements and accomplishments. So, stay with us as we explore his football life.


Sakai was promoted to the Kashiwa Reysol's first squad ahead of the 2010 season when he signed a contract and was handed the number 30 shirt. He didn't make his Kashiwa Reysol debut until May 5, 2010, when he came on as a replacement for Yohei Kurakawa in the 77th minute of a 1–1 tie against Ventforet Kofu.

Sakai subsequently made his first start for the team in a 2–2 tie against JEF United Chiba on July 25, 2010, starting the entire game and assisting on one of the goals. He didn't score his first goal for the club until October 31, 2010, in a 4–1 win against Mito HollyHock.

The 31-year-old had a good start to the 2012 season when he helped Kashiwa Reysol win the Japanese Super Cup by defeating FC Tokyo 2–1 on March 3, 2012.

He made 23 appearances and scored three times in all competitions this season, although missing one match at the time of his departure.

On June 13, 2012, it was reported that

Hannover 96

had agreed to sign Sakai from Kashiwa Reysol. Sakai later signed a four-year deal with the club, which will keep him with the club until 2016. According to reports, the move cost one million euros (100 million yen).

It wasn't until August 31, 2012, that he made his Hannover 96 debut, setting up one of the goals in a 5–1 triumph against Slask Wrocaw in the UEFA League Europa League Qualification Round Second Leg.

He then made his league debut on September 23, 2012, in a 3–1 loss to 1899 Hoffenheim, when he came on as a substitute from 16 minutes until the conclusion of the game.

Sakai joined Marseille on a free transfer on June 23, 2016, after being relegated from Hannover 96. His then-national team manager, Vahid Halilhodzic, was said to have persuaded him to join Olympique de Marseille.

Sakai also joined Olympique de Marseille as the club's second Japanese player after Koji Nakata. Prior to the start of the new season, he was assigned the number two shirt.

The defender made his Olympique de Marseille debut in the season's first game, assisting Florian Thauvin on a goal in a 4–0 win against Toulouse. He soon established himself as a member of the team's starting eleven, playing in the right-back position.

The father of two daughtera was the only player who played at the right-back position, therefore this was the case. Sakai played in the right–midfield position against rivals

Paris Saint-Germain

on October 23, 2016, at one time throughout the season. Sakai went on to make 40 appearances in all competitions despite missing three games throughout the season.

He confirmed his departure from the club at the end of the 2020–21 season (he eventually signed for Urawa Red Diamonds in the J. League 1)


Time for his international career in this part of

Hiroki Sakai biography


Sakai was called up to the senior team for the first time in October 2011 for a match against Vietnam and Tajikistan, however, he did not participate and instead sat on the substitution bench.

The hero of our story made his national team debut, where he played 45 minutes, in a 2–0 win against Azerbaijan in the Kirin Challenge Cup on May 23, 2012, eight months after being called up.

Hiroki continued to play in additional matches for the team during the remainder of 2012.

The Japanese and Atsuto Uchida began competing for the right-back position in 2013, with each of them gaining the position in a number of matches. In the 2013 Confederations Cup team, he played in two of the three games, both of which were defeats.

Sakai was nominated to Japan's preliminary team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in May of 2014. He eventually made it to the 23-man squad's final cut. Sakai, on the other hand, did not play in the World Cup and spent the remainder of the season on the bench.

After Uchida's absence in recent 2015 matches, Sakai began to make an effect in order to maintain his spot in the national team's first squad. Sakai cemented himself in the right-back position for the following two years, starting every match he played.

Sakai was nominated to Japan's preliminary team for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in May of 2018. He eventually made it to the 23-man squad's final cut. Sakai made his World Cup debut against Colombia in the Group Stage on Matchday 1, when he played the entire game in a 2–1 victory.

Hiroki Sakai honors

On the domestic level, Hiroki has done a lot. He has won J. League Division 1in 2011, J. League Division 2 in 2010 and Japanese Super Cup in 2012. In Marseille, he managed to help the team stand second in UEFA Europa League in 2017–2018.

In contrast, he failed to achieve any significant trophy on an international level. His only honor is helping Japan stand second in AFC Asian Cup in 2019.

He alone has won 3 main awards. J. League Rookie of the Year in 2011, J. League Best XI in 2011, and Olympique de Marseille Player of the Season in 2018–19 are all his individual achievements.

Thank you for reading

Hiroki Sakai biography

. We will also appreciate it if you share this article with friends or family so they can learn more about this Japanese footballer.

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