The former Indomitable Lions striker has disclosed what stirred his move to the Japanese league when he wasn’t getting regular playing time in France
Patrick Mboma revealed why he chose to join Gamba Osaka after leaving French Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain.
The Parisians handed the former Cameroon international his first professional contract in 1992 thanks to his impressive displays for the youth team.
However, he was loaned to Chateauroux and Metz in a bid to get regular playing opportunities.
Mboma returned to Parc des Princes in 1996, yet, he was not in manager Ricardo’s plan. At that point, he decided to look elsewhere to continue his professional career.
While the search for a new club was on, the J1 League cast admiring glances in the African star’s direction, and ultimately, the striker joined the Black and Blues having considered the money and playing chances.
“The most surprising thing for me was that they came in for me. I was playing under Ricardo at Paris Saint-Germain and wasn’t getting a game,” the 2000 African Player of the Year winner told Fifa website.
“An agent called me to say Gamba Osaka wanted to make me an offer, but I can’t say it appealed to me to begin with.
“It was the money that made me think again because they were offering me eight times what I was getting at PSG, plus guaranteed regular football.
“I knew some big names had gone to play in Japan, and I knew from the first training session that I could achieve big things. I scored 24 goals and gave 15 assists in my first season and the club finished runners-up in the second phase.
“It had taken me just a few months to get to the top in Japanese football. The press and the fans went nuts about me, which made me really proud and gave me a lot of confidence.”
When asked if he was not worried about the possibility of going off the radar having joined the Asian side, Mboma said: “I knew there was a risk that people would forget about me, which is why there had to be something in it for me financially.
“In the end, PSG called me to offer me more than I was getting in Japan. Ultimately, though, I chose Serie A, which was the top league at the time, and signed for Cagliari.
“I became a first choice for the national team, and I helped us qualify for the World Cup in 1998. My Japanese adventure definitely paid off for me.”