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`I Joined Celtic Because I Want to Win a Title`

Posted July. 06, 2010 11:18,   


Soccer defender Cha Du-ri, when asked about providing color commentary on TV, said, “I had few chances to talk because my father was talking a lot.”

“Commentating on soccer was fun. Since I’m a player, I don’t feel such a burden. It was really enjoyable to watch the game and commentate with my own father,” he said.

Cha is the son of Korean soccer icon Cha Bum-kun, who starred at Germany’s Bundesliga in the 1970s and 80s, and followed in his father’s footsteps by playing in Germany as well. Because of his years in the German league, the younger Cha has grown familiar with many players on the German national team.

He said he is close to Lukas Podolski of Köln and Miroslav Klose, and Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich, who are playing in this year’s World Cup.

“I played soccer with young German players. If younger players such as Mesut Oezil, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng perform well as they did in the regular Bundesliga season, the German team will likely do well,” he said. “In short, these players have been playing cool games in South Africa.”

Cha Du-ri burst into tears after his national team was eliminated in the World Cup by Uruguay, with Koreans watching him cry on TV. He told The Dong-A Ilbo, “I thought this year could be my last World Cup so I thought I’d play and have fun. But I felt deep regret once I realized the event was over.”

Another reason he cried was the release of the huge burden on his shoulders. “I felt really pressured while preparing for the World Cup. I packed my mental burden and went to South Africa. After being set free from such a big burden all of a sudden, I felt completely relieved,” he said, adding he is still reeling from the World Cup.

“When I went into the stadium to do commentating, I saw fans cheering, the loud sound of vuvuzelas, and players arriving in buses, which all looked familiar,” he said. “Had we successfully played our second-round match, I thought I might be playing here today.”

After the loss to Uruguay, the defender went directly to the U.K. instead of returning to Korea. He signed a two-year contract with Celtic FC, which has finished second in the Scottish Premier League for the past two seasons, to join compatriot Ki Sung-yueng on the team.

“I chose Celtic because I wanted to win a title,” Cha Du-ri said. “I originally wanted to go to Suwon Samsung in the K-League because I wanted to win a title with my father. After my father quit as coach, I changed my plan.”

On Ki, Cha Du-ri said, “Sung-yueng is still in the adaptation phase. He didn’t make Celtic’s starting roster due to the team’s situation. I talked with the coach, who said Ki will be okay as long as he plays like he did at the World Cup.”

Talking about this year’s World Cup, he repeatedly emphasized the term “last event” but implied that he could play again in four years’ time. “Any player would want to play for the national team as long as he has the ability,” he said.

Cha Du-ri said he can play in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil if called, but being in his 30s, he has his post-playing days to think of.

Upon retirement, he said he wants to become a physical rehabilitation therapist. “I want to study physical rehabilitation because I have a keen interest in it,” he said. “I’ve seen many highly talented players who gave up their careers because they did not take proper rehabilitation therapy after suffering an injury.”

“I want to study rehabilitation because I want to help those people in a small way.”

Arriving in Korea Monday after working the Germany-Argentina quarterfinal, he said, “I want to go home now and see my wife and daughter.”