Friday, September 22, 2023

Lee Kang-in: from reality TV winner to PSG player, who is he?

One jersey was out of stock during the Japan tour, that of Lee Kang-in. Passed by Valencia then Mallorca in Spain, the Korean was transferred this summer to PSG for 22 million euros. Beyond his qualities as a footballer, the player opens up a new marketing opportunity for the capital club in South Korea, but also in Japan. “He is very well known and even more popular than Son Heung-min (the Tottenham player), because Koreans have known him since he was very young,” explains Fabien Yoon, a French journalist for the team.

His family sacrificed everything for him

As explained Super Deporte, the sports daily from Valencia, his parents and his two older sisters dropped everything to follow the little prodigy in Spain when no one spoke or understood a word of the Spaniard. After successful tests, and several meetings, the club explains to the parents that the only way to sign Lee Kang-in is for the family to settle here.

Winner of a reality show

Yes, at barely 6 years old, the young Lee Kang-in became a celebrity in his country. Winner of a football reality show, Fly Shoot Dori, broadcast by KBS, the country’s largest channel, where he faced opponents from all over the country, he won a ticket to Manchester where he will shoot an advertisement with the midfielder pitch of United Park Ji-Sung, legend of South Korean football.

Started by Marcelino

It is the current coach of Olympique de Marseille who launched the Korean in the professional world. 7 years after his integration into the training center, on October 30, 2018, he became the youngest South Korean in history to start as a professional in Europe. The Spanish technician used it as a torchbearer and more often in 10 in his 4-4-2. For the record, Lee Kang-in started with the N.34, the one he wore in the reality show mentioned above.

Mallorca and the World Cup with Korea

If he had good performances with Valencia, Lee Kang-in never really imposed himself and left for Mallorca in 2021. A real confirmation for the player. Indisputable holder, he was selected by Paulo Bento to participate in the 2022 World Cup. In 14 selections, he has not yet scored a single goal. On the other hand, the player was one of the stars of the U20 World Cup in 2019 where he scored 2 goals, delivered 4 assists and allowed his team to reach the final where they lost to Ukraine.

His position

A training medium, the Korean is described as fast and technical. Its advantage? He can evolve in almost all positions, being as comfortable in the center as on the wings. If he is not a serial scorer (only 6 goals with Mallorca last season), the winger is a real asset in offensive actions and offers many assists.


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