Hasebe Makoto looks back on his 22-year career as pro soccer player

The former captain of Japan's national soccer team, Hasebe Makoto, has talked to NHK about his 22 years as a professional player. The 40-year-old retired from competition last month after playing his final match with his club in the German league.

Hasebe started his professional career with the Urawa Red Diamonds in 2002. He helped the Reds win a J-1 title and become the AFC Champions League winner.

In 2008, he moved to Germany's Bundesliga and helped his club win the league title in his second season. He also helped another club win the UEFA Europa League.

As the captain of Japan's squad, Hasebe took part in three straight World Cups and captained a record high number of matches.

Hasebe said that since turning pro upon graduation from high school, he never thought he would make the national team.

He said his first goal as a pro player was to take part in an official game, and he initially thought it would be enough if he could just leave his mark.

He added he became more eager to play after his first game and he changed his goal to playing as a starting member. He said he was able to build a good career after the accumulation of those small things.

But he had difficulties as well. Hasebe said he was often removed from the starting lineup when his club got a new coach.

He described himself as a player without outstanding physical traits such as running fast or scoring many goals.

But he said he was able to win his coach's trust in the end by constantly seeking what was missing in his club.

Asked for an advice for salaried workers who have new bosses or colleagues, Hasebe said it is difficult to change other people.

He said rather than changing others, he thinks it is more efficient to change your own ideas and ways or the way you approach things, adding that can help you grow.

Hasebe said instead of focusing on someone else, it is better to respond flexibly and pay attention to yourself.

Hasebe said that going forward he plans to work in Germany to nurture younger players.

He said he has learned many things thorough soccer.

He said he is now confident that he has built up what a soccer player would do and was able to accomplish until the end.

He said that's the point that gives him confidence as he faces the next phase of his career and he hopes to continue doing so.