Naoki Matsuda passed away on Thursday, August 4, just two days after collapsing during a warm-up with his third division club, Matsumoto Yamaga. Emergency technicians first suspected heatstroke caused the collapse, now Yamaga states that the 34 year-old suffered cardio-respiratory arrest before being rushed to the hospital.
Japan’s former coach, Philippe Troussier, lamented the loss “He was a great guy and I felt a close bond to him. My thoughts go to his family.”
The Blue Samurai won 40 caps for his country and was “a reliable and strong player and key for Japan’s World Cup side in 2002,” mentioned Matsuda’s French former coach.