Hidetoshi Nakata reveals the secret to his success

Despite retiring from football early at the age of 29, Japan legend Hidetoshi Nakata still spent more than a decade p...

Posted: May 30, 2018 11:57 AM
Updated: May 30, 2018 11:57 AM

Despite retiring from football early at the age of 29, Japan legend Hidetoshi Nakata still spent more than a decade playing at the highest level.

Appearing in three World Cups and making his name in Serie A and the Premier League, Nakata is widely considered one of his nation's greatest footballing exports.

But in an age where high-tech sports equipment and detailed nutritional plans are used to eke out every ounce of a player's potential, Nakata revealed the secret behind his performances: pre-match power naps.

"I used to sleep, even in the locker (room)!" he told CNN.

READ: From soccer to sake, why Hidetoshi Nakata is on a cultural mission

READ: Hidetoshi Nakata -- Japan's misunderstood son returns from exile

"You know, we'd go in one hour and a half before the match and we'd have 30 or 40 minutes free time ... too long. I used to read a book or sleep!"

The midfielder, who accrued 77 caps for Japan over the course of his career and won the Serie A title and Coppa Italia, also revealed who he thinks is the greatest player of all time ... and had his say on the Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi debate ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

Watch the video above for his one-on-one with CNN.

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