MX23RW : Thursday, October 18 12:11:21

Japanese World Cup footballer Naoki Matsuda dies, aged 34

Japan World Cup footballer dies, aged 34
© PA Photos
Former Japanese international footballer Naoki Matsuda dies, aged 34.

Former Japanese international footballer Naoki Matsuda has died, aged 34.

The defender, who represented his country at the 2002 World Cup, died two days after collapsing on the training pitch from a suspected heart attack.

Matsuda was taken to a nearby hospital after the incident but later died.

"It's terrible to see someone die at such a young age," former Japan manager Philippe Troussier told Reuters news agency.

"It's a big shock. He was a great guy and I felt a close bond to him. My thoughts go to his family."

Matsuda played nearly 400 games for Yokohama Marinos, where he won two J-League titles, before moving to lower league Matsumoto Yamaga.

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