Since his arrival at the club, Cristian Nazarit has proved an instant success both on the pitch, where he has scored 4 goals thus far, and off the pitch where his strong, athletic, powerful style has endeared to the FC Gifu supporters. But who is Nazarit, and how did he come to be the spearhead of FC Gifu?
Nazarit is Colombian and made his debut for America de Cali at the tender age of 16, and represented his country in the FIFA U-17 world cup. His performances for Cali & Colombian earned him a move to Independiente Santa Fe. 11 goals in the 2010 season persuaded MLS side Chicago Fire to bring him to the Windy City.
Things really didn’t progress as hoped, as Nazarit scored just twice for the Fire. Anecdotal evidence suggests that inner club turmoil was the main factor in Fire’s poor start to the season (they would go on to finish 6th in the league) and he ended returning to his homeland, playing for Deportivo Cali and Itagui before having a spell at Chilean club Deportes Concepcion.
In February of this year, it was announced that he would be joining the Ramos revolution in Gifu. The first thing you notice about Nazarit is his size; he is massive. His thighs are like tree trunks and his upper body looks all muscle. He is fast and doesn’t get pushed off the ball easily. He is nobody’s fool, and isn’t afraid to tackle/barge when it is needed.
As for his playing style, he is a dual threat player in that he can beat players on the ground with his pace and strength, or he can beat defenders with his aerial prowess. And don’t forget set pieces! I’m sure Kamatamare Sanuki won’t as they remember how he curled a beautiful free kick into the top corner (on his debut, no less) to instantly settle in.
His brace against Shonan Bellmare showcased his speed and finishing. He was very unlucky not to score in the games against Ehime & Avispa Fukuoka as he had towering headers pushed on to the bar and cleared off the line. And last Sunday he showed composure to perfectly place his penalty into the top corner.
Sure, he has a few rough edges but he is still only 23 years old. He can only get better as he acclimatizes more and more to Japan. After the Kamatamare Sanuki game, Ruy Ramos stated that the club was lucky that a player of Nazarit’s caliber was available and willing to sign for Gifu. Amen to that! And I suspect all the Gifu players and fans, not just Yoshikatsu, feel the same.