1994 FIFA World Cup champion Leonardo joined the J.League in the summer of the same year. As the successor of Zico at Kashima Antlers, the Brazilian international midfielder did not disappoint the Japanese fans.
The most memorable individual moment of his experience in J.League came when he scored an amazing goal against Yokohama Flügels on November 1, 1995. As he received the ball on the edge of the box, Leonardo avoided the first defender’s tackle by lifting the ball. He then kept juggling the ball, teasing the Flügels defenders one after another, to then finish with a stunning left-footed volley.
Despite the pressure, Leonardo showed his sublime skill, to deliver a truly world-class goal. In fact, it was chosen as the best goal in the first 20 years of history of the league in the ”J- Chronicle Best” awards that commemorated the 20th anniversary of the J.League.
Leonardo scored 30 goals in 49 appearances in his three years in the J.League, and later showed his brilliance in Europe at Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan.