As I watched South Korea lose to Brazil yesterday, one player kept on catching my eye. Not just of mine but the BBC commentary also kept on mentioning his name time and time again.
This wasn’t Oscar or Neymar or Leandro but in-fact the captain of the losing side. Ki Sung Yueng. A name a little foreign in England, but more well known a bit further north in the Scotland domain.
Ki Sung Yueng is iconic Scottish club Celtic’s young midfield sensation.
Everything he seemed to to do was perfect. Every pass was accurate. He had a great sense of vision. Quality was oozed when Yueng switched the play almost effortlessly. The quality of his diagonal balls were pinpoint, plus he was very good in possession rarely losing out.
Whilst trailing Brazil the complete South Korean squad were looking up to Ki for the inspiration and encouragement. Though in the end Brazil went on to end the match deserved winners, the footballing world was sent out an indirect message about a rising superstar.
Nicknamed the “Korean Steven Gerrard”, Ki possesses very similar attributes with the Liverpool midfielder.
Having a strange start to football, Ki’s family were fully supportive towards fulfilling their and their son’s dream to play professional football.
Sent to Australia in 2001 by his father to play football and also learn English, Ki adopted the name David is Australia as he played for Brisbane’s John Paul College. As he continuously impressed and improved Ki returned to South Korea in 2007 to play for FC Seoul, one of the most popular and successful clubs in the K-League.
In his time for Seoul, Ki played alongside current Bolton winger Lee Chung Yong and the pair became very close friends. Consistent performances saw Ki become a dominant figure in the Seoul side and led to them to a marvellous runner’s up place in 2008. He also earned a place in K-League Best XI two years running.
With now the Korean ace constantly working his magic, a host of clubs battled for his signature in 2009. Ultimately, Celtic won out and Ki was transferred to the Glasgow based side for £2.1 million.
The change of environment and culture had no effect on Ki’s football as in only his second season Celtic won the Scottish Cup with the South Korean being named player of the match in the final.
His performances in the Celtic shirt didn’t go unnoticed internationally either as Ki helped himself to a range of new accolades including “KFA Footballer of the Year 2011” etc.
Ki continued his remarking progress by also helping Celtic win the Scottish league the following year. The season saw the Korean score 7 goals and rack up 6 assists as Celtic went to become champions by a clear 20 points of second placed Rangers.
His incredible rise in Scottish football has seen Ki Sung Yueng become one of the most sought after properties in Europe as we speak with a range of clubs interested in securing the mid-fielder’s services. Now the midfielder, the new face of South Korean football after Ji Sung Park’s recent retirement from international football, is looking to play at higher level himself.
The club that manages to attract Ki to play for them will surely be very lucky, as not will they only get a great footballer but also a great person.
Presently the talented midfielder will go into the third place play off with Japan on Saturday hoping to win the bronze medal to avoid his country’s two year compulsory military service.
No doubt will I be rooting for South Korea to win, as a player of Ki’s calibre should be playing football for as long as he wants. A rising genius in the making, Ki is one to watch for the future.
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