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Lee Kang-in, the brand-new star of Korean football

Lee Kang-in, the brand-new star of Korean football

South Korea missed the opportunity to become the first Asian team to win the FIFA U20 World Cup, but they also showed a bright young talent: Lee Kang-in.

Lee Kang-in have honorably received the Golden Ball of FIFA U20 World Cup. At the age of 18, he found himself fully capable of playing at the highest level like the senior Park Ji-sung and Son Heung-min.

Historically, the U20 World Cup Golden Ball award has been awarded to many outstanding players such as Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero or Paul Pogba. This year, that honor belongs to Lee Kang-in. Like Messi and Aguero, Lee Kang-in becomes the owner of the U20 World Cup Golden Ball at the age of 18.

Looking at the past, it is not difficult to realize that Lee Kang-in's talent was expressed very early. In 2007, while Park Ji-sung experienced great success with MU, there was a poor fellow boy in his 20's who performed incredible tricks on reality TV. Looking at Lee Kang-in leading the ball and kicking the ball back then, no one thought he was in first grade.

Lee Kang-in, the brand-new star of Korean football

In 2009, Lee Kang-in matured into the Incheon United youth club and played with the U12 team, that is, with the boys ... 4 years older than him. The Korean football environment soon became too small for the child player in 2001. After only two years of "training" in Incheon, Lee Kang-in set out for Europe, bringing his dream of becoming a professional player. Arriving in Spain, Lee Kang-in was admitted to the academy of Villarreal and Valencia, before deciding to join the team with the nickname The Flock of Bats.

Do not own ideal body (only 1m73 height), but Lee Kang-in has speed and technique is not inferior to those of his peers in Europe. After 6 years of training at Valencia youth team, Lee Kang-in was promoted to the B team to compete and then went through a real turning point in the 2018/19 season.

He played 6 games in the King's Cup last year, becoming an important factor to help Valencia win the tournament. In January of this year, Lee Kang-in also officially debuted in La Liga despite being still in adolescence.

“He has both talent and ambition. It is rare to see a player who possesses such natural qualities and still diligently practices in addition to Lee Kang-in. No doubt he will go even further in the future, ”said Miguel Grau, Valencia youth coach. Valencia did not want Lee Kang-in to be ripe but was well aware of the player's talent. That's why, in the summer of last year, Valencia soon renewed the contract with Lee Kang-in.

Lee Kang-in, the brand-new star of Korean football

In Valencia today, Lee Kang-in is expected to follow players like David Silva, David Villa and Juan Mata soon. Lee Kang-in's performance at the recent FIFA U20 World Cup shows that the compliments for him are completely grounded. Lee Kang-in finished the tournament with 2 goals and 4 assists, thereby winning the convincing Golden Ball title. Tai does not wait for his age, Lee Kang-in meets all the qualities of top-notch football like Park Ji-sung and Son Heung-min, the big stars of the kimchi country.

List of awards at FIFA U20 World Cup

Team awards:

Champion: Ukraine

Runner-up: South Korea

Third place: Ecuador

Fair-Play: Japan

Individual awards:

Golden Ball: Lee Kang-in (South Korea)

Silver Ball: Serhiy Buletsa (Ukraine)

Copper ball: Gonzalo Plata (Ecuador)

Golden shoe: Erling Haland (Norway) - 9 goals

Best assist: Lee Kang-in (Korea), Jens Hauge (Norway) - 4 goals

Golden glove: Andriy Lunin (Ukraine)