National midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin insisted it was his destiny to play in Japan, as he was officially unveiled as Consadole Sapporo’s new player following his loan move to the J-League newcomers on Tuesday.
Chanathip last month realised his childhood dream to play abroad when Thai League champions Muangthong United reached agreement to let him join Consadole club on loan for one and a half years.
Consadole unveiled Chanathip to the Japanese media on Tuesday in Sapporo before the 23-year-old, the first Thai to ply his trade in Japanese top-flight, begins his loan spell at the club, who secured a return to the J-League by winning the second-tier J2 League in July.
“I come here to develop myself and help the team as much as possible. I’m confident I can acclimatise to the conditions. People here can live in cold weather so why can’t I?,” said the diminutive midfielder, who will wear the No18 shirt for his new club.
Chanathip then said he would like Consa supporters to simply call him by his nickname rather than “Messi Jay”, a moniker he earned from Thai media for having a physique and dribbling skills reminiscent of Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
“Actually, I have to thank everyone for calling me 'Messi'. However, I can’t compare myself to him. He’s a world-class player, while I still have a lot to do to improve myself.
“I just want them (Condasole fans) to simply call me 'Jay', the nickname my mother gave me, which I guess shows it was my destiny to play in the 'J-League', or my real name, Chanathip,” said the Thai, who added that it was perhaps no coincidence that his name could be abbreviated to “CS”, just like that of the Japanese club.