BARCELONA - Around 6,000 ecstatic Espanyol fans turned out to welcome new signing Shunsuke Nakamura at the Primera Liga club's Cornella-El Prat stadium in Barcelona on Monday. The arrival of the Japanese international midfielder in the Catalan capital at the weekend already sparked a chaotic crush at the airport and his media impact has been compared to record Real Madrid signing Cristiano Ronaldo. As well as the thousands of fans and top club officials, there were 300 journalists at the stadium on Monday and the Japanese consulate in Barcelona was also represented, Espanyol said on their website. "I want to thank all those who have made it possible for me to be here today," Nakamura told fans after greeting them in Catalan. "Of course (such a welcome) increases the pressure but as soon as I take to the pitch I will give my all to pay back this support and make the fans happy," he added. Nakamura joined Espanyol on a two-year deal from Celtic last month after winning three Scottish Premier League titles. He opted for the Spanish club after snubbing his boyhood J-League club Yokohama F-Marinos. Nakamura, who has protested against his "Galactico" billing, said he had dreamed of playing in Spain as a child. "I will have to improve in all departments, and especially make sure my game is faster, physically as well as mentally," he said before showing off some of his skills.
13 July 2009
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