Miyamoto happy at Red Bull Salzburg

The 2002 and 2006 World Cup captain left Gamba Osaka for Red Bull Salzburg in January 2007 and helped his new team win the championship. At the moment however, he is recovering from a hamstring operation.

"We were doing sprints during a training session in January," Miyamoto told the International Herald Tribune. "Then I felt a sharp snap in my left thigh. It was obvious right away that it was serious."

"It was a strange experience being in an Austrian hospital, I definitely will never forget it," Miyamoto said.

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"In Japan, they'd keep you in there for 10 days after the surgery and there'd be a lot of care. Here, they discharged me after three days. It was literally, 'You're fixed now, so off you go.'"

Miyamoto was skipper of Gamba in 2005 when the team finally won the Japanese title. Doing it with Salzburg just a few months after arriving in Europe felt different: "It was so different to when I won the J.League with Gamba. I'd been with them my whole career. As you can imagine, becoming champions was a moment we'd been sweating blood and tears for, for a long time."

The 31 year-old is keen to stay out west.

"I'm becoming quite attached to my new life in Europe. I'm signed on until 2009, but I'd definitely consider extending my contract here or finding another club on the continent."

"Sure, it's not like the English Premier League here in Austria, but I feel that I've had to make a considerable step up," he said.

"The atmosphere in the stadium is fabulous and the fans really understand the game.

"Players here understand the importance of staying focused for 90 minutes and playing as a unit. In Japan, players have a bad habit of switching off when the ball is on the other side of the pitch. It's much more physical, intense and mistakes get punished."

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