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Lee Kang-in makes a debut with Valencia CF

Posted November. 01, 2018 08:05,   

Updated November. 01, 2018 08:05


Super rookie Lee Kang-in of Valencia has re-written the history of Korean football. The South Korean phenom made a debut on Wednesday in a match against CD Ebro at the last-32 stage of the Copa del Rey competition, playing 83 minutes. Lee Kang-in, who was born on February 19, 2001, has made his first division debut at the age of 17. Lee has become the youngest player to play in a first division in the Primera Liga this season.

Lee has become the youngest Korean to play in the first division league in Europe, breaking the record previously held by Nam Tae-hee at the age of 18. He also became the only Korean player to play in the first division in a professional league among young Korean players, who were born after 2000. It is a rare case even in the top 5 European leagues for a young player born in 2000 to play in a first division league. Only 25 players born in 2000 including three in the Premier League, two in the Primera Liga, six in the Bundesliga, 12 in the Ligue 1, and two in Serie A have played in a first division this season.

Although Lee Kang-in is currently playing for Valencia B in the Segunda Division B (Group 3), he already played in the first division in preseason. Valencia has a great expectation for Lee, setting his buyout clause at 80 million euros (approx. 103.7 billion won).

Lee Kang-in showed an outstanding performance in his debut match. He played as a left striker in the 4-4-2 formation, boasting an accurate kicking and ball keeping ability. His mid-range shot from the penalty line in the 56th minute hit the goal post. Valencia CF beat CD Ebro 2-1.

“Lee Kang-in has become the youngest foreign player to make a debut in the history of Valencia,” wrote Spanish daily newspaper Marca, calling Lee a gem in a quarry.

Jae-Hyeng Kim monami@donga.com