BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2019: Saki Kumagai profile

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Meet BBC Women's Footballer of the Year contender Saki Kumagai

We are profiling each of the five nominees for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2019 award. You can vote for your winner on the BBC Sport website until Thursday, 2 May at 09:00 BST (08:00 GMT). The result will be revealed on Wednesday, 22 May on BBC World Service.

Age: 28 Position: Defender/Defensive midfielder Plays for: Olympique Lyonnais and Japan

Achievements in 2018

  • Won the Champions League and league title with Olympique Lyonnais in the 2017-18 season
  • Part of the Lyon team who have conceded just six goals in 20 league games this season
  • Captained Japan to the Asian Cup in 2018

Did you know?

  • Kumagai won the World Cup with Japan in 2011, scoring the winner in a penalty shootout
  • She also Olympic silver in 2012 at the London Games
  • She speaks French and German, as well as her native Japanese

In her own words

Greatest achievement of the past 12 months?

It's becoming Asian champions and European champions. They were big tournaments for me and they were the best moments from last year.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest?

I'm Japanese so I'd have sushi. I really like my team-mates, so just them. I like eating with them, not stars! They're too stressful. I can't eat or speak with them!

Apart from football, what's your favourite sport?

Basketball, baseball, volleyball. Since I was small I've played football but also table tennis and badminton...but I'm rubbish.

On being nominated for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year...

Whatever I achieve is not down to me, I have to thank my team-mates. If it's me on my own I can't win.

Finish this sentence: football for me is...

Joy. If football didn't exist I couldn't express myself - it's my life. Without football life is less interesting and too serious. You always have to laugh.

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