Spanish media also praised Lee Kang-in’s performance.
The Korean national soccer team, led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann, defeated Tunisia 4-4 in the October international friendly match held at Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. on the 13th.
There have been some changes in Korea. Son Heung-min and Hwang In-beom started on the bench. Hong Hyun-seok started instead of Hwang In-beom, and Kim Min-jae wore the captain’s armband. Without Son Heung-min, Korea’s ace was definitely Lee Kang-in. Lee Kang-in was positioned in the center at the beginning of the game, but Lee Jae-seong changed his position. As he came to the right side, Lee Kang-in’s true value appeared. Lee Kang-in increased the number of touches on the ball from the side and sought opportunities by changing direction, forward passing, and dribbling. The first half ended 0-0 with no goals scored.
The second half was Lee Kang-in’s time. Lee Kang-in scored the first goal. He found the net 10 minutes into the second half when he directly handled a free kick he had earned. It was Lee Kang-in’s debut goal in his A match. Not long after, Lee Kang-in completed a multi-goal. In the 12th minute of the second half, he widened the gap by hitting a left-footed shot in front of the defense inside the penalty box. Afterwards, the opponent’s own goal and Hwang Ui-jo’s key goal resulted in a 4-0 victory.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Ligue 1 also praised Lee Kang-in’s performance. PSG said, “Lee Kang-in’s international debut goal was scored. Paris’ No. 19 scored multiple goals for the national team for the first time.” Ligue 1 posted a video of Lee Kang-in scoring with the phrase, “What can you do in 2 minutes? Lee Kang-in scored 2 goals against Tunisia.” Another post included a photo of Lee Kang-in wearing a PSG uniform and the caption, “Lee Kang-in, great player.”
Spanish media ‘AS’ reported on the 13th (Korean time), “Lee Kang-in is a cannon. Lee Kang-in is still in top condition. He won a gold medal at the Asian Games a few days ago and received military service benefits. Lee Kang-in led Korea to a huge victory over Tunisia. “It was reported.
He continued, “Lee Kang-in scored two goals that day. His quality shone twice as he broke down Tunisia’s defense. It is good news for coach Luis Enrique that Lee Kang-in has recovered his condition and is in top condition with the national team after the Asian Games.”
Lee Kang-in has been expected to play Korean soccer since he was a child. He made his name known to the public through ‘Fly Shootdori Season 3’, which aired on KBS in 2007. Lee Kang-in was evaluated as the future of Korean soccer due to his outstanding talent. Valencia was the first to take Lee Kang-in from Europe. Lee Kang-in made his first appearance on the European stage in 2011 when he passed Valencia’s test.
Valencia took special care of Lee Kang-in as several European teams showed interest in him. Lee Kang-in made his debut in Valencia after coming through the Valencia youth team. He initially spent time with Valencia B team Valencia Mestalla. He gained experience by receiving consistent playing opportunities in the third division.
As his experience and talent combined, Lee Kang-in’s skills began to bloom. Valencia also gave Lee Kang-in a chance when he was called up to the first team. Lee Kang-in debuted not only in La Liga but also in the UEFA Europa League (UEL) and UEFA Champions League (UCL). Lee Kang-in played for the Korean national team in the 2019 U-20 World Cup, leading the team to runner-up and even receiving the Golden Ball. However, Lee Kang-in did not receive many opportunities to play in Valencia.
Lee Kang-in needed a breakthrough and moved to Mallorca. Lee Kang-in was in full bloom in Mallorca. In his first season, he appeared in 30 games, moving between starting and rotation positions. This was Lee Kang-in’s strategy for Mallorca last season. Coach Javier Aguirre placed Lee Kang-in in the center, and Mallorca’s offensive development began with Lee Kang-in’s feet. He performed well throughout the season, scoring 6 goals and 6 assists in 36 league games.
Mallorca has been struggling in the relegation zone for over 10 years. But this season was different. Lee Kang-in’s kick and Vedat Muriki’s head combined to compete in the mid-table. In the end, thanks to Lee Kang-in’s performance, Mallorca finished the season in 9th place, their highest score since the 2012-13 season.
Big clubs paid attention to Lee Kang-in, who showed competitiveness in La Liga. Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, and PSG were mentioned as Lee Kang-in’s next destination. A trip to Atletico seemed likely, but there were variables. Atlético and Mallorca have not resolved their differences over the transfer fee. Meanwhile, PSG came out actively. In the end, Lee Kang-in decided to go to Paris.
PSG officially announced on the club’s website, “We are happy to announce the news of Lee Kang-in’s joining. The contract period runs until 2028.” And immediately after joining, Lee Kang-in said, “PSG is the best club in the world. I am happy to play with world-class players. I am already excited about the new challenge.”
The opportunity came faster than expected. Lee Kang-in started in a friendly match against Le Havre. He appeared as a right winger and caught the eye with his flashy movements from the beginning of the game. However, he left the field just before half-time with hamstring pain. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured. He accompanied Neymar, Marco Verratti and others on the Asian tour. He did not play in the Japan schedule, but appeared as a substitute in the second half of the game against Jeonbuk Hyundai.
Lee Kang-in also appeared as a starter in the opening game. Lee Kang-in played as a right winger and threatened Lorient’s goal. Even though they drew 0-0 with Lorient, they received good reviews. Ligue 1 released the match report on its official website. Ligue 1 said, “Lee Kang-in and Marco Asensio deserve praise. It seemed like Messi’s vacancy would be big, but Lee Kang-in filled Messi’s position brilliantly. PSG may be disappointed with the result of the game, but Lee Kang-in will be satisfied with his performance.” He said.
Lee Kang-in was also appointed as a starter in the second round. This time he was a left winger. Lee Kang-in was positioned wide on the side and there was nothing he couldn’t do. Eventually, in the 6th minute of the second half, he was replaced by Kylian Mbappe. Lee Kang-in’s evaluation was not good. On the other hand, Ousmane Dembele, who was considered his rival, received rave reviews.
Bad news struck Lee Kang-in. Following the competition for the starting position, there was even news of an injury. PSG officially announced on the club’s website, “Lee Kang-in injured his left quadriceps muscle. The club plans to focus on treatment at least until the international break ends.” It was a different area from the right hamstring he injured last time.
With the news of Lee Kang-in’s injury, both the A team and the Asian Games national team were hit by a change. Lee Kang-in was not called up for the September international match due to injury. Fortunately, news of Lee Kang-in’s recovery was reported soon after. PSG released a photo of Lee Kang-in training at the indoor training center through the club’s social media. Lee Kang-in rode a cycle indoors and used a cable machine to exercise his upper body. He held a kettlebell and squatted with one left leg. PSG said, “Lee Kang-in will be rehabilitating for several weeks.”
Lee Kang-in, who quickly recovered from his injury, joined the Asian Games national team without any problems, although there was a lot of talk about being selected. Lee Kang-in was excluded from the roster for the second match against Thailand in the group stage held on the day he arrived in China and watched the game from the stands. Afterwards, he appeared as a starter in the third game against Bahrain. Lee Kang-in was replaced in the 36th minute of the first half after only checking his physical condition.
Lee Kang-in was unable to make much of an impact due to the aftermath of his injury. Still, he proved his class with his flashing movements whenever he caught the ball. Rather than going out of his way to make changes himself, he used his teammates to solve the game. Not only Lee Kang-in, but also his teammates including Jung Woo-young, Eom Won-sang, and Hong Hyun-seok also performed well and won the gold medal without any major obstacles.
Lee Kang-in was called up to the A match in October after finishing the Asian Games. Lee Kang-in clearly showed his strengths in his national team. Lee Kang-in had some time away due to injury, but quickly regained his playing ability. Lee Kang-in’s soccer intelligence is high, so he can play on both the left and right sides and as a midfielder. Attention is being paid to whether Lee Kang-in will return to PSG and gain an upper hand in the competition for the starting position.
Lee Kang-in’s charm changes depending on his position. When positioned on the side, he creates threatening shots with sharp crosses. He comes inside from the right side and shows a powerful shot. He shows off a different charm in midfield. Lee Kang-in is close to perfect technically and has good ball-holding ability. He creates scoring opportunities with passes that catch the defense off guard