Keisuke Honda of CSKA Moscow was the 38th best player of the 2009-10, according to a panel of Goal.com editors...
Keisuke Honda has leapt immeasurable heights in one season of football after a quite a remarkable year for the 24 year old Japanese international.
Beginning his year in the Dutch Eredivisie League with VVV-Venlo, whom he joined in 2008 from Nagoya Grampus Eight, the free-flowing midfielder was a revelation of skill, power and craftsmanship. Honda immediately made European scouts grab their pencils and phones, attracting attention from top teams all across Europe. Late 2009 he switched to Russian giants CSKA Moscow after 68 League appearances for VVV in which he fired 24 goals.
His season began with a bang, a string of performances that were simply outstanding. In Rounds 1 to 4 of the Eredivisie League, Honda netted five times from midfield with an array of first class finishing. Round 2 the playmaker single handedly dragging his side from two goals down to score twice with persistent harrying of the opposition. His goals were nothing short of spectacular, thunderbolts from thirty yards, free kicks and his performances ran out of superlatives.
By the time Honda departed Venlo during the winter break, his presence and goals had given VVV a platform which enabled them to wrestle off relegation, managing only 15 points without their talisman.
After his arrival in Russia for a reported €9 million he was thrown into the starting line-up for the Champions League last 16 against Sevilla on debut. Voted Goal.com readers man of the match in the first leg, in the second Honda blasted a free kick from an audacious distance to make CSKA the first Russian team to reach the quarter finals and Honda the first Japanese player.
His RPL debut in CSKA's opening game was just as impressive, bagging the only goal of the game deep into stoppage time to the relief of coach Leonid Slutsky.
Moment of the Season
World Cup Group decider versus Denmark, Honda rifles in a free kick to set Japan on their way to history.
He has quickly become a firm fans' favourite in Russia, with his attitude and ability shining at the forefront of their best play, slipping into the team with ease. Coach Slutsky was full of praise;
"We expected great things and he hasn't disappointed. I feel his best play comes from supporting the forward, which I like, it is a Soviet style.
Honda is shrewd but has alot to learn, he knew nothing of Soviet Russia and he didn't even know who the band Queen was!"
His performances earned him a place in the Japan squad for the World Cup, where he was the stand out player thriving in an unfamiliar striker role. His awareness and ability to drag defenders out and exploit them, combined with outstanding technique and power made Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger label him "a genius."
Honda scored twice in three games in the group stage. The highlight of which was a magical show against Denmark, scoring a trade mark free kick with the infamous Jabulani. He flummoxed the defence for the third goal to ensure Japans' progress through the group stage for the first time not on home soil.
Honda received two FIFA man of the match awards and even in Japans' loss to Paraguay, Goal.com readers still picked Honda as their top of the match.
After such a season, going from a relatively unknown to world wide recognised talent, it will be difficult to top such a season for Keisuke Honda... but he certainly has the ability!