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Soccer: Kubo to kick off Spanish season with Mallorca

Real Madrid's Takefusa Kubo from Japan plays in a preseason football match in Munich, Germany, on July 31, 2019, against Istanbul's Fenerbahce. (Kyodo)

MADRID (Kyodo) -- Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid will loan 18-year-old Japanese star Takefusa Kubo to first-division rival Mallorca, an official with knowledge of the transaction said Thursday.

In June, Kubo became Japan's second-youngest international at the age of 18 years, 5 days. This summer, he moved from J-League first-division side FC Tokyo to Real Madrid on a full transfer.

He had been expected to play this season for Real's "B" team in Spain's third division. However, his strong play in the preseason has raised expectations for him, and it was thought experience at a higher level would be more valuable for him.

A product of FC Barcelona's youth academy, Kubo played for Japan in the recent Copa America and is considered a key player for the national team at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Mallorca was promoted this season from Spain's second division. Kubo's loan deal runs until next June 30.

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