It is generally not the norm to promote an opposition player, but Reds supporters will tonight get the chance to see a superstar of not just Japanese, but world football.
He might not be as familiar a name as Del Piero or Heskey, but the chance for South Australians to see WSW-s Japanese midfielder Shinji Ono in their own backyard tonight will be well worth the price of admission.
It is doubtful whether the majority of spectators at Hindmarsh will have a full grasp of Ono-s reputation and standing in not only Japanese, but world football.
There have been a host of world class players ply their trade at Hindmarsh and after tonight, you can safely add Ono to that list. A three time World Cup player and the Asian Footballer of the Year in 2002, the 33 year olds CV is evidence enough about his calibre and talent.
On Wikipedia, his profile describes him as one of the biggest stars in Asian football, known for his vision, technique and superb passing. He has been capped 56 times for Japan-s national team, made over 100 appearances for Dutch giants Feyenoord, and was a part of an extremely successful period for J-League club Urawa Red Diamonds.
Ono makes up part of the ‘big three- to join the Hyundai A-League this season, his signing following the earlier announcements of Alessandro Del Piero to Sydney FC and Emile Heskey-s move to Newcastle.
Ono-s decision to commit to Western Sydney Wanderers could well have been overshadowed somewhat by Del Piero and Heskey, and he may not come with the same hype, but make no mistake, the man from the Blue Samurai can certainly hold his own in this company.
According to some football experts, Ono was the pick of the ‘big three- in the opening weekend of the season and his stature in Australia is sure to only grow as the weeks go on. The Reds will just be hoping it is not tonight.