Former Women’s World Cup winner & Arsenal midfielder Iwabuchi retires at 30 by Michelle
Former Arsenal Women midfielder, Mana Iwabuchi, has really not had a good year, culminating in her announcement on X (formerly Twitter) that she is retiring from football, at only 30 years old.
To all the people supporting me pic.twitter.com/g95l8hEhD3
— Mana Iwabuchi 岩渕真奈 (@buchi_mana) September 1, 2023
Mana won the World Cup with Japan in 2011 at just 18 years old and had received more than 80 caps. She won Asian Young Footballer of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and was named MVP in the 2018 Asian Cup. She has a long list of honours:
Frauen-Bundesliga: 2014–15, 2015–16
Nadeshiko League: 2007, 2008, 2010
Nadeshiko League Cup: 2007, 2010, 2012
Empress’s Cup: 2008, 2009
FIFA Women’s World Cup: 2011
AFC Women’s Asian Cup: 2018
Iwabuchi was the face of Japanese women’s football from her mid-teens, but failed to make the Japanese WNT squad that reached the quarter-finals of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, in Australia & New Zealand.
Iwabuchi signed for Arsenal Women in June 2021, transferring from Aston Villa. However, under Jonas Eidevall, Iwabuchi played very few minutes and was an unused sub on several occasions, even when Eidevall was nursing a long list of player injuries through last season.
In January this year, Mana went out on loan to Arsenal’s arch north London rivals, Tottenham, in a bid to play more minutes to improve her chances of selection for the Women’s World Cup squad but failed to make an impact at the club, and ultimately she was not selected for her national team.
We wish Mana all the best for her future.
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