US League appeals to fading world stars, says Massaro
By JESSIE HUI
FORMER AC Milan striker Daniele Massaro said yesterday the new US professional league would become as popular as the J.League for fading international stars.
Massaro, who has been playing with J.League side Shimizu S-Pulse since last July, said he might follow in the footsteps of his former teammate Roberto Donadoni, who has signed with the New York Metro Stars.
'My contract with S-Pulse expires at the end of this year. I will then consider whether I should finish my football career in the United States or Japan,' said the 34-year-old former national forward who is in the territory with S-Pulse.
'Playing in the United States will be a good opportunity for a change. I believe many Italian players will go there after the Italian season has finished in June.
'But right now, I am enjoying my life in Japan and even my daughter is learning Japanese.' Massaro, who has been out of action for three months with a serious right ankle injury, said the Japanese players and coaches lack international experience.
'Half of the J.League coaches are foreigners. Many Japanese coaches watch the tapes of matches in Europe or South America to learn different tactics. But watching tapes is not as good as learning the skills in those countries.
'The Japanese players are not very skilful in general. Their performances are not consistent. They may play brilliantly in one game and very badly in the next.
'Both the Japanese coaches and players should go abroad to learn from the dominant football countries, like national striker Kazu Miura, who has played for Genoa in Italy.' Massaro reckons South Korea have a slightly better chance of hosting the 2002 World Cup than Japan.
'The organisation of Japan is very similar to the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Japan has also got a well-established infrastructure and there are many big sponsors to support the Japanese bid.
'So there is no problem for Japan on the money side,' said Massaro who scored one goal in the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States.
'However, the South Koreans have much better international results. They have qualified for the Olympics and World Cup several times. Japan have never qualified for the World Cup finals.' Meanwhile, S-Pulse were beaten 2-0 by South China at the Hong Kong Sports Institute yesterday.
Both goals were scored by Bosnian striker Alen Bajkusa, who is under a five-match suspension, in the third session of the 90-minute friendly.
The J.League side will face the Hong Kong League XI next Tuesday before they return home the next day.