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Park Joo-young: “New Years Greetings with a Goal”

Posted February. 04, 2005 22:58,   


Park Joo-young (Korea University) and Roberto Soldado (Real Madrid B team), the two “rising stars” of Korean and Spanish soccer, will play against each other in a friendly match between the Korean junior national team (under-20s) and the prestigious Spanish pro-football team Real Madrid’s B team (18-24) that is to be held on February 9, the Chinese New Year.

Korea will play against Atletico de Madrid’s under-20 team on February, followed by a match with Real Madrid’s B team on February 9. Real Madrid’s B team is the top-ranking team (13 wins, four ties, four losses) among 20 teams in Group One of the Segunda B league, which is the Spanish minor league.

Park Joo-young is the next-generation killer in Korean soccer, causing a “Park Joo-young Syndrome” when he led the Korean team to the championship with nine goals in four matches in the International Friendly Tournament held at Qatar at the beginning of the New Year. Soldado is the main striker on the Spanish junior national team and plays for Real Madrid’s first team and B team. They were both born in 1985, and are alike in their outstanding goal senses and gifted ability to select positions. Since Park Joo-young and Soldado are likely to meet at the World Junior Football Championship that is to be held in the Netherlands in June, the upcoming match is, in a way, its prelude.

Park Joo-young expects to make this match a stepping-stone to the Spanish League, the “League of Dreams.” Although he failed to score a seventh-consecutive-game goal in the match against Syria, he is aiming to catch the eyes of Spanish pro-football scouts by scoring a goal in his face-off against Soldado. Also, this will be an opportunity for him to put to sleep certain opinions that he has been “overrated.”

For Soldado, who has played on the under-17 team followed by the under-20 national team, this match will be a chance to gain the favor of Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Real Madrid’s Brazilian head coach. In a January match against the first team and the B team, he had been a two-top with Michael Owen, but failed to make it into the first team because of Javier Portillo (22). This match will be an opportunity to be re-evaluated.

In terms of physical condition, Park Joo-young, at 183cm and 73kg, is superior over the 175cm, 72kg Soldado.

Meanwhile “Park Joo-young Fan Club” will broadcast the under-20 match against Atletico de Madrid at 6:30 p.m., February 6. The broadcasting site is the Park Joo-young Fan Club blog (blog.naver.com/2002fan). The Korean junior team, which left for overseas training on January 11, will return on the afternoon of February 11.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com