The town of Saga and Sagan Tosu affectionately welcomed Atlético de Madrid and La Liga World at The New Otani hotel. The first part of the event involved the Chairman of Sagan Tosu, Minoru Takehara, the Mayor of Tosu, Yasushi Hashimoto, and Clemente Villaverde, Vice President of the LFP and Consultant and Football General Manager of Atlético de Madrid. All of them highlighted the importance of this type of meetings to increase the bonds of union between the countries, the international expansion of Spanish football with the matches that will be played and the great opportunity it means for the Japanese fans to be able to see great teams such as Atlético de Madrid.
It was also attended by the head of ICEX in the Tokyo Embassy, María del Coriseo González-Izquierdo, and the Director of Strategic Projects of the LFP, Ignacio Trujillo.
Later, it was time for the star appearance of both teams with their coaches in the lead, a moment that was received with applause by everyone present. Players and coaches sat down on the stage while Hideshima Toshiyuki, Mayor of Saga, thanked their attendance to play this match. Afterwards, the presenter invited some of those present to participate in the welcoming ceremony, a Japanese tradition that consists in breaking a drum of sake with some mallets. The Chairman of the Sagan Tosu joked with the mallet hinting at hitting Simeone, while Ignacio Trujillo, Clemente Villaverde, José Luis Pérez Caminero, Gabi, Raúl García and Simeone himself dressed in a kimono and picked up a mallet to follow the tradition.
Once this traditional welcome was over, Simeone and Hitoshi Morishima, coach of Sagan Tosu, exchanged shirts of their two teams and addressed the audience. The Argentinian coach thanked the welcome and wished that all who go to the Tosu Stadium on Saturday enjoy a good show, in addition to considering that measuring up against a strong European team will be a good opportunity to grow for the Japanese team. As for the Japanese coach, he thanked the presence of the red and whites in Japan and promised a very competitive match.
Lastly, both teams posed alongside the authorities for a family photo which ended a beautiful welcoming event to our club in Saga.