Hwang Ui-jo, a South Korean striker who recently transferred to the French soccer club FC Girondins de Bordeaux, was not shy in expressing his ambition. Signing a four-year contract with Bordeaux for his debut in a European football league, Hwang left Korea Thursday to fly to Washington for his pre-season training in the new team.
Hwang, who has found eight goals in 27 national team matches, is one of the best strikers of Team Korea led by Paulo Bento, a head coach from Portugal. Last season, his instinct to find the net peaked out, netting 16 goals for Gamba Osaka, which got him ranked third in the J League top scorers’ competition.
After winning the gold in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games last year, which exempted him from military service, Hwang has received many offers from various clubs in the Middle East, China, and America. “Some clubs from the Arab Emirates or Qatar have offered him four million dollars for annual salary, but he refused as he had a big dream of playing in the European leagues,”Hwang’s agent explained.
His salary at Bordeaux is reported to be around 1.8 million euros. “I wanted to start it as a new challenge. There are many good teams and players (in Europe),” Hwang said. “I want to learn lots of things from them in the pitch.”
Having ranked 14th last season in Ligue 1, Bordeaux only managed to score 34 goals owing to poor performance by its main attackers. “Recovering the firepower is an urgent task for Bordeaux, so they won’t wait long enough for the new ones to adjust,” said Han Joon-hee, a football commentator of KBS. “Hwang must bring his A-game when the opportunities come up and show off his finishing skills, his forte.”
Yun-Cheol Jeong firstname.lastname@example.org