Reo Hatate: Rising Star of Celtic and the Japanese National Team


Reo Hatate, the energetic and versatile midfielder, has taken the Scottish Premiership by storm since joining Celtic in January 2022. His impressive performances for both club and country have garnered him a dedicated fanbase and established him as a key player for both sides. This article delves into Hatate’s career trajectory, playing style, and his impact on the pitch, providing a comprehensive look at this rising star of Asian football.

From J-League Champion to Hoops Hero: Hatate’s Club Career

Born in Suzuka, Japan, in 1997, Hatate’s football journey began at FC Yokkaichi before progressing to Shizuoka Gakuen High School and Juntendo University. He made his professional debut in 2018 with Kawasaki Frontale, a powerhouse club in the J-League.

Hatate quickly established himself as a valuable asset for Frontale, showcasing his versatility across the midfield and wing positions. His dedication and talent were rewarded as he played a key role in the club’s J-League title win in 2020. He was even named in the J-League Best XI for the 2021 season, highlighting his exceptional contributions.

However, Hatate’s ambitions extended beyond the J-League. In January 2022, he made a bold move to Celtic, a historic club in Scottish football. This transfer marked a significant step in his career, offering him the opportunity to compete in a new league with a passionate fanbase.

Adapting to the Hoops:

Hatate’s debut for Celtic was a dream come true. He delivered a man-of-the-match performance in a 2-0 victory over Hibernian, showcasing his technical ability, work ethic, and tactical intelligence. His quick adaptation to Celtic’s style of play impressed fans and management alike.

Hatate’s versatility continued to be a valuable asset for Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. He seamlessly slotted into various midfield roles, providing defensive solidity, attacking impetus, and creative spark. His tireless running, intelligent passing, and eye for a goal quickly made him a fan favorite.

Celtic Success and Recognition:

Hatate’s contributions were instrumental in Celtic’s successful 2022/23 season. The club secured a league title win, and Hatate’s individual brilliance was recognized with a nomination for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award. He also earned a place in the PFA Scotland Premiership Team of the Year, solidifying his position as one of the league’s standout performers.

Furthermore, Hatate’s consistent performances caught the eye of the Japanese national team. He earned a call-up and featured in the 2023 Kirin Cup, demonstrating his potential to become a crucial member of the national squad for future international tournaments.

Reo Hatate: A Technical Maestro with Tactical Versatility

Hatate’s playing style is characterized by his exceptional technical ability and tactical intelligence. He possesses a deft touch, allowing him to control the ball in tight spaces and execute precise passes. His vision and passing range are key assets in initiating attacks and creating scoring opportunities for his teammates.

A Box-to-Box Midfield Dynamo:

Hatate’s energy and stamina see him cover a vast amount of ground on the pitch. He seamlessly transitions between defensive duties and attacking forays, making him a true box-to-box midfielder. His ability to win tackles, intercept passes, and disrupt the opponent’s play allows Celtic to maintain control in midfield.

Adaptability and Tactical Awareness:

One of Hatate’s most impressive qualities is his tactical awareness. He adapts his playing style based on the demands of the game and the opposition’s tactics. He can play as a deep-lying playmaker, a box-to-box midfielder, or even a wide attacker, depending on the manager’s strategy.

This versatility makes him a valuable asset for any team and allows managers to deploy him in various formations without compromising on effectiveness.

The Future of Reo Hatate: A Bright Light for Club and Country

At just 26 years old, Reo Hatate has already established himself as a key player for both Celtic and the Japanese national team. His dedication, talent, and adaptability position him for a bright future in the world of football.


Q: Where is Reo Hatate from, and when did his football journey begin?

Reo Hatate was born in Suzuka, Japan, on November 21, 1997. His passion for football blossomed at a young age, leading him to play for FC Yokkaichi during his youth career (2013-2015) and later Shizuoka Gakuen High School (2016-2019). He further honed his skills at Juntendo University (2016-2019) before embarking on a professional career.

Q: Which club did Reo Hatate play for before joining Celtic?

Hatate’s professional career began in 2018 with Kawasaki Frontale, a powerhouse in the J1 League (Japan’s top division). He quickly established himself as a valuable asset, contributing to the team’s success and earning recognition for his versatility

Q: What position does Reo Hatate play, and how did he perform for Kawasaki Frontale?

Hatate’s primary position is central midfielder, but his versatility allows him to excel as a left wing-back and even an attacking midfielder. During his time with Kawasaki Frontale (2018-2021), he showcased his skillset, scoring 10 goals in 62 appearances across all competitions. He was instrumental in the team’s 2020 J1 League title win, impressing fans and scouts alike.

Q: Did Reo Hatate achieve any individual recognition while playing in Japan?

Hatate’s consistent performances and tactical intelligence earned him a nomination for the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) Scotland Scottish Premiership Player of the Year award in the 2022/23 season, highlighting his rapid impact on Celtic. While he didn’t win the award, it speaks volumes about his early success in Scotland.

Q: When did Reo Hatate join Celtic, and what were the expectations?

In January 2022, Celtic FC secured Hatate’s signing on a 4 and a half year contract. He arrived amidst high expectations, with fans eager to see him adapt to the Scottish Premiership. However, few could have predicted the immediate impact he would make.

Q: How did Reo Hatate adapt to life and football in Scotland?

Hatate’s seamless adaptation surprised many. He quickly grasped the demands of the league, showcasing his technical ability and tactical awareness. His work ethic and dedication resonated with Celtic fans, who affectionately nicknamed him “The Machine” for his tireless running and all-around contributions.

Q: What are Reo Hatate’s biggest strengths as a player?

Hatate possesses a unique blend of technical skill, tactical intelligence, and physical attributes. He excels in ball control, passing, and tackling, making him a dynamic presence in midfield. His stamina allows him to cover significant ground, contributing to both attack and defense.

Q: How has Reo Hatate contributed to Celtic’s success?

Hatate’s arrival significantly bolstered Celtic’s midfield. He formed a strong partnership with Callum McGregor, adding a new dimension to their play. His goal-scoring contributions were crucial, and he was awarded the PFA Scotland Premiership Player of the Month award for February 2023. While Celtic narrowly missed out on the league title in 2022/23, Hatate’s impact was undeniable.

Q: What are the expectations for Reo Hatate in the upcoming season?

With a full season under his belt, expectations are high for Hatate in the 2024/25 season. Fans anticipate him playing a pivotal role in Celtic’s quest to reclaim the Scottish Premiership title. He might also attract interest from bigger clubs in Europe, highlighting his rising profile.

Continued Success at Celtic:

With a contract extension signed in September 2023, Hatate is committed to Celtic for the foreseeable future. Fans can expect to see him continue to be a driving force in the club’s midfield, contributing to their dominance in Scottish football and potentially achieving success in European competitions.

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