Former English international striker Gary Lineker’s move to Nagoya Grampus was big news for Japanese football back in the day.
The top scorer of the 1986 FIFA World Cup came to Japan in 1993, and the arrival of the international star made the opening of the J.League that year even more appealing.
His yearly salary of 300 million yen was the highest in the league and many fans had high hopes for the performance of the world-class striker.
Alas, the 33-year-old was already past his prime, and he was unable to show his full potential while struggling to improve his form in an unfamiliar environment, also due to several injuries.
He scored his first goal in Japan early in the season with a header off a corner against Yokohama Flügels, but that ended up being his only goal in his 1993. He then netted three more in the next season, but four goals in 18 appearances during his two years in Japan was far below the expectations of Japanese football fans.
The English superstar announced his retirement at the end of the 1994 season after failing to show to the Japanese fans his extraordinary finishing skills and his clean playing style.