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Is Suwon the Korean Version of Real Madrid?

Posted January. 12, 2005 23:01,   


“Dreaming of becoming the Korean version of Real Madrid.”

Champions of the K-league in 2004, Suwon Samsung brought Kim Nam-il, a star player during the 2002 World Cup from the Chunnam Dragons through a trade. It was a two-for-one deal, giving away Cho Byung-gook, “the defender who makes goals,” and troublemaker Koh Jong-soo.

Suwon, which received the spotlight from the press by bringing in Coach Cha Bum-geun, is now ready to be called the Korean version of Real Madrid after bringing Song Jong-gook, a star player during the 2002 World Cup and who played in the Netherlands’ league with Feyenoord and Kim Nam-il, aboard. The Spanish Primera Liga’s Real Madrid is a team made up of world-famous players like Zinedine Zidane from France, David Beckham from England, and Ronaldo from Brazil. Suwon plans to become a world-famous team representing Korea by bringing in star coaches and star players.

Kim Nam-il, the star player of the 2002 World Cup will definitely bring popularity to the team with his “tough guy” type appearance and parlance. Also, as a defensive midfielder, he also possesses offensive ability, and it is forecasted that he will surely improve Suwon’s competency.

Suwon said, “The coaching staff, including Coach Cha Bum-geun, strongly hoped to recruit Kim Nam-il. The trade was a win-win choice which also helped the Chunnam Dragons to improve their defense with Cho Byung-gook, a defender on the Korean national team, and to raise Koh Jong-soo, who is born in the region, as their franchise star.” Ahn Ki-hun, the head of Suwon Samsung, said, “To become a popular team, it is important to bring up a team’s competency. Also, star players like Song Jong-gook and Kim Nam-il are essential to satisfy the fans.”

In the meanwhile, Song Jong-gook, who returned to the K-league after playing in the Netherlands for 27 months, said, “Suwon is the team that I always wanted to play with since I was young. I hope to contribute to Suwon’s development to become a world-level football club,” during a press interview.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com