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SHINJI KAGAWA BECOMES FIRST ASIAN PLAYER TO JOIN COMMON GOAL

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Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa has become the latest individual to back the Common Goal initiative and pledge at least 1% of his salary to charity in a bid to use football as a force for good in local communities around the world.

Kagawa is the 19th person to formally support Common Goal, and the very first from Japan and Asia. His pledge follows on from the addition of six high profile female stars just a few days ago, including 2015 World Cup winner and three-time Olympic gold medalist Heather O’Reilly.

“I’m really excited to announce to you today that I’ve joined Juan Mata on the Common Goal team,” the 28-year-old explained.

“Football has given me so many opportunities in life and now I want to play my role in supporting others through the game. Common Goal is quickly growing around the world and I’m proud to help lead the movement forward in Japan.”

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have football lead me all over the world – Japan, England, South Africa, Brazil and of course Germany, to name just a few countries,” he said.

“If there’s one constant I’ve witnessed throughout the journey it has to be passion. Football inspires and excites people like nothing else on the planet, and what I love about Common Goal is that it channels this passion in a way that makes a real difference to disadvantaged communities around the world.”

Mata is delighted to welcome Kagawa to Common Goal, commenting “Shinji knows a thing or two about being first – he was the first player from Japan to play at Manchester United and then the first to win the Premier League. So I think it’s fitting that he’s now the first to join Common Goal as well.

“I know first-hand that Shinji is a special footballer and a brilliant person. It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome him to the team today.”

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Graeme Rutherford