Former Japan international Naoki Matsuda has died after suffering a cardiac arrest. The 34-year-old defender collapsed during training with his club side Matsumoto Yamaga on Tuesday.
He was initially diagnosed with heatstroke after a 15-minute run. He was unconscious on his arrival at hospital but showed no response to heart massage.
Ex-Japan coach Philippe Troussier said: “It’s terrible to see someone die at such a young age. “It’s a big shock. He was a great guy and I felt a close bond to him. My thoughts go to his family. “He was a reliable and strong player and key for Japan’s World Cup side in 2002.
“It’s bad news for Japanese football. We’d all hoped of course he would pull through. “To see someone taken away doing something they love, so suddenly, at 34 is tragic. It’s awful news.”
Matsuda played 40 times for Japan, including the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. He also played 385 J-League games for the Yokohama F Marinos from 1995 to 2010, helping the team to three J-League titles.
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