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David Villa with the 1,000 paper cranes / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

The FCB Japan Supporters Club and David Villa are the focus of this story. Everything started on the 15th of December, during the semi-finals of the Club World Cup. Villa fractured the tibia in his left leg. “There are a lot of Villa fans in Japan and the injury affected all of us. The day after his injury, the fans wanted to do something for him,” said Hiroki Nakano, the president of the supporters club.

Said and done. With the support of World Soccer Digest magazine, the Japanese fans, concerned with Villa’s injury, started their project. They decided to make 1,000 paper cranes, which symbolise good luck and health, with messages of support and encouragement for the FC Barcelona striker. “Beyond receiving a present, which is beautiful and I think these are pretty complicated to make, it’s about the message that it sends,” said a surprised Villa, who is aware of the work required to make the gift. “All of these things give me strength to keep on going and continue with my recovery. I’ll keep these with a lot of affection. I’m sure that they’ll give me good luck and I’ll be able to return stronger.”

Good memories of Japan

The Barça supporters in Japan -the country with the second most FC Barcelona members- will be pleased to hear Villa’s words: “even though I was injured in Japan, I have great memories, we won a very important title for the Club and for me, I didn’t have a Club World Cup, it was the most important title that I had yet to win. I want to thank them for all the time they’ve spent on me.”

After the show of support, Barça’s striker said that he feels invigorated in his daily recovery work. “I want to do it for me and my family, but I also want to do it for all of these people.”

In the meantime, the Japanese fans continue to support Guardiola’s Barça as they await for one of the team’s stars to return. All 1,000 paper cranes are inscribed with “¡Viva Guaje!”

“This makes us bigger”

The vice-president of FC Barcelona’s Social Area, Jordi Cardoner, was at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper when Villa was presented his gift from Japan. “It honours us and it makes us a bigger Club. Japan is a country of friends. The Japanese public have a culture and a way of understanding life that’s different to ours and this present has extreme value, full of intangibles. It’s a very emotional gesture that David completely understood,” said Cardoner.


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