Look Back at Wataru Endo's Wonderful Journey with VfB Stuttgart

10 months ago

Wataru Endo, a name that resonates with passion and pride in the hearts of VfB Stuttgart's faithful, is more than just a footballer. He is a symbol of dedication and an embodiment of unwavering commitment. But who exactly is this Japan international midfielder who has etched his name in the annals of Die Schwaben's history?

 Look Back at Wataru Endo's Wonderful Journey with VfB Stuttgart on ULSFootball

A Glance at the Wataru Endo Stats

  • Age: 30
  • Club: VfB Stuttgart
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Country: Japan (50 caps, two goals)
  • Emergence on the Horizon

Hailing from Yokohama, Wataru Endo's journey to prominence took a pivotal turn when Shonan Bellmare extended a contract offer in 2010. This marked the beginning of a career that would see him shine as a beacon of talent and determination.

During his tenure at Shonan Bellmare, Endo's contributions played a vital role in securing the second-division title for the Tokyo-based team. His exceptional skills led to 23 goals and seven assists in 167 games for the club. The next chapter of his career unfolded with Urawa Red Diamonds in 2016.

As his international career blossomed, accolades such as the AFC Champions League, Japanese League Cup, and Copa Suruga Bank adorned his path. European scouts began to take notice, and it wasn't long before Belgian first division side Sint-Truidense seized the opportunity to bring this midfield maestro into their fold in 2018.

The Journey to Die Schwaben

Endo's standout performances with Sint-Truidense captured Stuttgart's attention, leading to his move to the German club in 2019. Though his initial days under Stuttgart's then-coach Tim Walter were characterized by a gradual integration, it was under Pellegrino Matarazzo's tutelage that his potential truly flourished.

In a pivotal turn of events, Endo played a pivotal role in securing Stuttgart's return to the Bundesliga after a triumphant second-place finish in Bundesliga 2. His remarkable contributions earned him a permanent place in the squad. Leading by example, Endo's tally of 476 challenges made him the Bundesliga's defensive linchpin.

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A Moment for the Ages

Endo's storybook journey reached its crescendo in the 2021/22 season. In the final game of the season, facing the prospect of a relegation playoff, Stuttgart found themselves deadlocked with Cologne. Then, in the dying moments of injury time, Endo's header sent shockwaves of jubilation through the Mercedes-Benz Arena. His goal not only secured Stuttgart's spot in the Bundesliga but etched his name in the hearts of fans forever.

Steering Through Challenges

Endo's unwavering commitment remained resolute in the face of challenges. In the 2022/23 season, he ranked fourth league-wide for challenges won, further solidifying his reputation as a defensive juggernaut. His leadership extended to the international stage, captaining Japan to victory over Germany in the 2022 World Cup groups.

A Player in the Mold of Claude Makelele

Endo's style of play draws comparisons to the legendary Claude Makelele. His ability to anticipate danger and his precision in both tackling and distributing the ball mirror the qualities that made Makelele a football icon.

Behind the Scenes

Endo's leadership qualities were recognized when he was named captain of the Japanese national team in a victorious match against China in January 2022. Former Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat aptly summed up his impact, highlighting Endo's role as an anchor and a focal point.

Pellegrino Matarazzo, former VfB coach, emphasized the importance of a captain who embodies the team's values and serves as an example to follow. Wataru Endo has not only met these criteria but has surpassed them, leaving an indelible mark on VfB Stuttgart's history.

In a sport where heroes are celebrated, Wataru Endo's legacy stands as a testament to hard work, determination, and the enduring spirit of football. As he continues to lead and inspire, his journey is a reminder that greatness is forged through dedication and a love for the beautiful game.

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