Lee Kang-in ↔ Gubo Clash, As soon as ‘Champs Korea-Japan match’ appeared… Already bickering ‘best friend across borders’

December 19, 2023 | by

Korea and Japan are rivals in nationality, but they are close friends. Lee Kang-in (22), of Paris Saint-Germain, and Takefusa Kubo (22, Real Sociedad) have shown off their best chemistry since their confirmation of the round of 16 matches in the Champions League.

UEFA held a draw for the round of 16 matches of the 2023-24 Champions League at the Nyon UEFA House in Switzerland on the 18th. Since the end of the group stage, all attention has been paid to which 16 teams will meet for the “Big Year.”

It was Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich that attracted the attention of domestic soccer fans. This summer, there were two Korean players who moved their teams in recognition of their performances last season. Paris Saint-Germain had “Golden Boy” Lee Kang-in, and Bayern Munich had “Monster Defender” Kim Min-jae.

Chelsea legend John Terry picked the ball and continued his round of 16 matches in the Champions League. Paris Saint-Germain was picked as the third player and waited for the match. If Bayern Munich were to lose, it would be their second round of 16 matches following last season. However, as Paris Saint-Germain’s opponent was decided to be Real Sociedad, the Korean Derby in the Champions League has been postponed to the next time.

The “Korean Derby” failed, but there was a “Korea-Japan Best Friend” Derby. Takefusa Kubo, a Japanese striker, is playing for Real Sociedad. Kubo played in 23 matches in all competitions, including the Spanish Primera Liga, and recorded six goals and four assists. He has played a total of 1,645 minutes, leading the Real Sociedad attack.

Kubo and Lee Kang-in learned soccer in Spain from an early age. Kubo trained and improved his skills in the Barcelona youth team, and Lee Kang-in grew up in Valencia. It was also a great interest in Spain because he was responsible for the future of the team every month.

While preparing for the professional stage, Kubo was given FIFA disciplinary action. As his dream to become a professional player in Barcelona was about to be blocked, he returned to Japan as a free agent. After playing for the Yokohama Mariners pro league after passing through FC Tokyo, Kubo joined Real Madrid Castilla (minor league) in 2019 and returned to Europe.

Lee Kang-in continued to grow up in Valencia and wore the top-tier team uniform. He played in the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) and even received high-ranking trust from his team. As Lee stood out when he was a youth player, including the national team representative of Valencia, he was evaluated as a gemstone who will take responsibility for the future.

Things were different on the field, however. Lee wanted time but didn’t give him enough opportunities. Kubo has been gaining professional experience by loan from Mallorca and Villarreal since the Real Madrid Castile. As he has accumulated points on offense, he is one step ahead of Lee in terms of sense in actual matches.

Lee Kang-in chose to stay at Valencia’s club, but eventually decided to leave the team. It was not an easy choice to leave a team that had played for more than 10 years since his youth, but it was an inevitable choice for growth.

At this point, the “Korea-Japan prospect” will meet in one team. Kubo also came to Mallorca after loaning for Real Madrid, and Lee Kang-in also continued his new challenge by transferring to Mallorca. The two aggressive talents did not play at the same time as expected, but they built up a good competition and friendship on the field by sharing a bowl in Mallorca.

After returning to Real Madrid in the summer of 2022, Gubo completely moved to Real Sociedad, leaving behind a short meeting with Lee Kang-in. Lee Kang-in flew in the second season of Mallorca and compensated for the shortcomings that had been pointed out so far. He became the first Korean to score a double-digit goal in the Primera Liga and accumulated offensive points until the 2022 Qatar World Cup, receiving a love call from a big European club.

Kubo played in 35 matches of the Spanish Primera Liga in the 2022-23 season, and was recognized as a key player in his team. He scored nine goals and seven assists, and participated in seven matches of the UEFA Europa League, participating in European competitions. He met with Manchester United of the Premier League, and AS Roma of Serie A of Italy in the Europa League. His journey to the Europa League stopped in the round of 16, but it must have been a valuable experience.

Lee Kang-in joined Paris Saint-Germain in recognition of his performance in the 2022-23 season. He was connected to Manchester City and Atletico Madrid, but he was more attracted to Paris Saint-Germain, which sent the world’s best striker and changed his stance to recruit him with high growth potential.

He had muscle injury probably because he had prepared perfectly from the pre-season because he wanted to do well. However, he recovered by focusing on the opening match of the 2023-24 French Ligue 1 season, and has become a key player at the Paris Saint-Germain. He has been receiving full confidence from Luis Enrique, and is now spending more time to start in the Champions League beyond Ligue 1.

He scored his Champions League debut goal in the match against AC Milan. He only played for 19 minutes as a substitute, but his performance caught the eyes of soccer fans around the world. He also started in the final group match against Dortmund beyond the match against Newcastle United.

In the match against Dortmund, Lee Kang-in ran to empty space and penetrated. Kolomuani delivered a fast and low cross to Lee Kang-in. All he had to do was get in the right direction. The distance from the goal was also close, which made him expect a second goal in the Champions League this season. However, the shooting impact was not accurate and it slipped out of the goal line.

French media “Foot Mercato” gave Lee the lowest rating. “Lee started as a midfielder of Paris Saint-Germain. It was an opportunity to display his attacking capability and show his technical dominance with the ball. However, Lee continued to display inaccurate passes. It was the opposite performance that did not affect his defense. He missed an inevitable chance at Muani’s cross,” the media said.

Announcing the news of Paris Saint-Germain, the Paris team said that it was a disappointing game as he failed to find his place. Le Parisien also said that he displayed no good pressure. He frequently caught the ball only between Dortmund lines. He needs to show better performance at the frontier as he did in front of the goal,” adding that he scored 4.5 points.

Unfortunately, Lee Kang-in was criticized locally for missing the opportunity, but given his performance, he was able to rebound enough. Lee Kang-in played for 68 minutes to help attack Paris Saint-Germain. At the time, soccer statistics media gave Lee Kang-in a simple evaluation. According to Footmob, Lee Kang-in recorded three shots and one shot on goal in 68 minutes. The pass success rate was 82%, and the opportunity creation was zero.

He then started at the match against Lille OSC, round 16 of the French Ligue 1 in the 2023-24 season held at Stade Pierre Morua in Lille, France. He clearly displayed presence of offense and defense from the left. At the 20th minute of the first half, he had a chance to counterattack from under the halfway line. He provided an excellent shot to Dembele, who was penetrating deep in the right. He exchanged return passes with Barca at the 27th minute of the first half, creating an opportunity to penetrate the left.

Paris Saint-Germain was also involved in the first goal. In the 21st minute of the second half, Lee Kang-in induced a penalty kick that was heavily involved in the development of the pass. Lee Kang-in’s pass was connected to Hernandez through Barcola. Lille’s tackle to stop Hernandez was rough and a penalty was declared. Mbappe stepped up as a kicker and calmly succeeded.

At the half-line in the 31st minute of the second half, Lee Kang-in showed an amazing pass that runs deep into the goal. Lee recorded a total of 63 ball touches, 43 passes, and connected 38 times, showing a high success rate of 88 percent. He also recorded two key passes. The rating according to the “sofa score” was 7.0.

The two players, who are growing up in their respective teams, clashed on a single-log bridge in the Champions League round of 16.

Lee Kang-in and Gubo showed “best chemistry” as soon as the round of 16 match was decided. Gubo mentioned Lee Kang-in first when he posted the match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Sociedad on social networking services (SNS), and Lee Kang-in responded the same way, drawing laughter from soccer fans.

As the growth rate of the two players is steeper this season, the “Korea-Japan match” in the Champions League is expected to burn up even more. Kubo won the first Primera Liga Player of the Month award in October. It is highly valuable because it beat the world’s best strikers Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona) and Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid).

The same applies to Lee Kang-in. Lee received the Paris Saint-Germain goal of the month in November through cannonball shooting in the match against Montpellier last month. French Ligue 1 also paid attention to Lee Kang-in’s performance and even won the Ligue 1 goal of the month.

랭크카지노 The Ligue 1 secretariat said, “Lee Kang-in’s uniforms are selling hot in Paris Saint-Germain. Lee Kang-in’s name stands out more than the names of Kylian Mbappe and Usman Dembele. Korean tourists continue to flock to the Parc des Princes. Lee Kang-in joined Paris Saint-Germain from Mallorca and sold more uniforms than Mbappe. Europeans may not have realized it yet, but Paris Saint-Germain has gained a true superstar.”

“Paris Saint-Germain is enjoying many benefits just from the existence of Lee Kang-in. Not only is Lee Kang-in a useful player for Enrique, but he still has a long way to go, but he has the quality to become a new star in Asia. It has everything to follow in the footsteps of Korean national team star Son Heung-min. Paris Saint-Germain is gaining more popularity than ever in Asia,” he pointed out.

Japan also paid attention to the confrontation between the two players. The Japanese media “Saker Digest” said, “Kubo and Lee Kang-in will meet in the Champions League,” while “Spokini Annex” noted, “Lee Kang-in and Gubo, who were teammates in Majorca, will reunite in the round of 16.”

They are “Korea-Japan best friends,” who have grown into notable players in Paris Saint-Germain and Real Sociedad. Lee Kang-in and Kubo will run toward the trophy as Korean and Japanese national teams at the 2024 AFC Asian Cup before the round of 16 of the Champions League in February next year.


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