Shinji Ono (小野 伸二 , Ono Shinji? , born 27 September 1979) is a Japanese footballer who plays as a midfielder for J2 League club Consadole Sapporo. Known as Tensai (天才, Japanese for Genius), Ono is one of the biggest stars in Asian football, known for his vision, technique and superb passing. Although his primary position is attacking midfielder, he can play anywhere in the midfield, including defensive midfield and either wing.
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Ono grew up in the Shizuoka Prefecture and began his professional career with Urawa Red Diamonds in the J. League in 1998. The same year, he became the youngest Japanese player to play at 1998 FIFA World Cup, at age 18. He caught the attention of foreign clubs with his performance at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria, where he captained the Japanese Under-20 side that reached the final.
But later that year, he suffered a severe knee injury in a qualification match for the 2000 Olympics with Japan's Under-23 side, forcing him to miss the rest of the season and Olympic qualifying.
Round 1 - March 24/25 - Ebisu South Course, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan - Nobushige Kumakubo (GDB) Round 2 - April 28/29 - Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan - Atsushi Kuroi (PS13) Round 3 - May 26/27- Suzuka Circuit, Mie Prefecture, Japan - Masao Suenaga (FD3S) Round 4 - June 9/10 - Sports Land SUGO, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan - Masato Kawabata (S15) Round 5 - August 25/26 - Ebisu South Course, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan - Ken Nomura (ER34) Round 6 - September 22/23- Autopolis, Ōita Prefecture, Japan - Masato Kawabata (S15) Round 7 - October 20/21 - Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan - Masao Suenaga (FD3S).
After a strong performance at the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, Ono moved to Feyenoord Rotterdam of the Dutch Eredivisie in 2001. In his first season, he helped Feyenoord win the 2002 UEFA Cup, making him the first Japanese player in history to win a European trophy. However, a string of injuries kept him sidelined for long periods. After he missed the majority of 2004–05, the club sold him. His stint at the Rotterdam based club is highly rated and Dutch international Wesley Sneijder said "Shinji Ono is the toughest opponent I've ever faced".
On 13 January 2006, Ono returned to the J. League, signing a three-year deal with his former club Urawa Red Diamonds.