Japanese youngster Ritsu Doan was always likely to be earmarked for greatness when he made his debut for Gamba Osaka at the tender age of 16 in both the AFC Champions League and J.League.
The talented youngster, now 18 years old, had a productive April for his side in the ongoing edition of the AFC Champions League. Though Gamba Osaka have failed to shine in Group H and find themselves bottom of the group, Doan's performance in their 3-3 draw with Adelaide United would have offered them hope for the future.
Doan, who started on the right wing, was one of the shining lights for the Japanese side as they raced to a 2-0 lead inside 12 minutes. The best of the two goals was conjured up by Doan who wowed the fans present with a stunning strike from almost 30 yards out, deep on the right wing. He spotted the goalkeeper off position and unleashed a swerving left-footer that flew into the near corner.
Though Adelaide finally managed to fight back and get a point from the game, it did not take the sheen off Doan's performance on the wings. The teenager was a thorn throughout and put in four dangerous crosses which were not taken advantage of, sadly.
Doan's rise hasn't been sudden. He is only the sixth Gamba Osaka academy product to be given a first-team contract before he even completed his high school graduation. He really made the world sit up and take note when he played a starring role in Japan's victorious campaign in the 2016 AFC U-19 Championship, where the diminutive midfielder was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The youngster, a fan of former Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono, was also named the AFC Young Player of the Year award in 2016 and has kept on improving, judging by his recent performances.
Ritsu Doan is our Rising Star of April!