- Lee Chungyong to play in Club World Cup with Ulsan
- The South Korean’s European experience, an asset for The Tigers
- The 32-year-old winger has also played two World Cups with his country
Few South Koreans have been in Europe for as long as Lee Chungyong. The 32-year-old winger spent 11 years at Bolton Wanderers, Crystal Palace and Bochum, before signing at Ulsan in 2020.
Under his leadership, the Tigers won the AFC Champions League in December, a result that also opened the doors for them to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 ™, which begins next month. According to him, his experience in the Premier League and the Bundesliga could prove very useful, if Ulsan were to cross paths with Bayern Munich.
“What I learned in Europe can make a difference”, assures Lee at the microphone of FIFA.com. “Bayern are among the biggest clubs on the planet. We are not at the same level, but I have spent years in Europe and I am sincerely convinced that we can give the Germans a hard time, as long as we play on our strength. “
Lee Chungyong does have some arguments to make. From the resumption of the Champions League in September, Ulsan has chained seven successes in a row, thus validating his ticket for the semi-finals. A time led to the score, the Tigers found the necessary resources to rule out Andrés Iniesta and his Vissel Kobe, before repeating a similar feat in the final, against Persepolis. The winning goal was scored on a consecutive one-handed penalty … on a Lee cross.
“I’m proud of my team and of this victory. It was not an easy trip, however. We had to fight like crazy to win this title. Fortunately, we were able to keep our cool throughout. competition. I think that’s why we had so much fun on the pitch. “, he smiles.
“All the teams in the Champions League have qualities, but Vissel Kobe and Persepolis are probably the opponents who gave us the most problems. Each time, we conceded the opener. But we continued to do so. believe because we were convinced we could reverse the trend. What followed proved us right. There is a very strong bond between us. “
Experience to share
Ulsan will arrive in Doha with a new coach at his head: former South Korean international Hong Myungbo. After leading his team to the second step of the podium in the K League and the continental coronation, Lee wants to continue to lead by example.
“My role in this team remains uncertain, but I want to continue to share my experience with the younger ones. I want to be a role model, on and off the pitch. Maybe that’s also what the coach expects from me. “
Well-versed in international games, Lee has participated in two editions of the FIFA World Cup ™: South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014. The Seoul native is now preparing to play his first Club World Cup. “Of course, I can’t wait to experience this competition. I haven’t had the chance to be in a FIFA tournament for a long time. All the teams in the field are amazing and I can’t wait to compete against them.”
Lee scored his country’s only goal in a 4-1 defeat to Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the 2010 World Cup, before finding the net again against Uruguay, in round of 16. Did the idea of putting his name on the bulletin board again in 2020 cross his mind?
“It would be great. But for me, the team always comes first. I will do my best to help my teammates win,” he concluded.