Lee Kang-in is expected to participate in the Asian Games, but it is unclear if he will be able to complete the group stage schedule.
PGG announced on the club’s website on September 22 (KST),메이저사이트 “Lee Kang-in has suffered a left quadriceps injury. He will continue to receive medical treatment at least until the end of the A-match break in September.” He is expected to be out of action for about three to four weeks from now, making it difficult for him to fulfill the national team’s schedule during the A-Match.
The quadriceps refers to the four muscles in the front of the thigh. The exact condition of the injury is not known, but it is usually caused by sudden movements, incorrect jump landings, fatigue, and bruising. In Lee’s case, these symptoms likely occurred when he sprinted or jumped in a split second, or when he attempted a hard kick.
The news of Lee’s injury is an emergency for the national team, especially for Hwang Sun-hong’s Asian Games squad. South Korea will be going for a third consecutive gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which kick off on September 23. Lee Kang-in has been labeled as one of the key players to win the title, even though he hasn’t been called upon consistently.
However, Lee’s recovery could delay his return, or even prevent him from joining the team altogether. When announcing the final roster, Hwang Sun-hong said, “Lee Kang-in’s determination for the Asian Games is strong. There is an expectation that the team will be well coordinated because the player’s will is strong. We plan to have a full squad on September 4. As I said before, we are thinking positively, and Lee Kang-in himself is very determined to compete in the Asian Games.”
However, given the expected length of Lee’s injury, it is unlikely that he will be able to join the team in time for Hwang’s full call-up. There’s another problem. The tournament kicks off on the 23rd, but South Korea’s first group game is on the 19th. After facing Kuwait, they’ll play Thailand on the 21st and Bahrain on the 24th. Even if Lee Kang-in returns from injury in three weeks, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to play in the group stage right away.
It’s more likely that he won’t make the squad. Jürgen Klinsmann’s squad will play friendlies against Wales and Saudi Arabia in Cardiff and Newcastle, England, during the September A matches. Looking for their first win under Klinsmann, the team will likely field the highest level of available strength for the two games in September. That’s why Klinsmann wanted to call up Lee despite the Asian Games schedule.
“I don’t know how many players from the A team will be going to the Asian Games, but we’ll try to come here and play our best games and improve our performance so that we can make the Asian Games team,” Klinsmann said in a recent media teleconference. I hope we can get good energy from the A team and carry it to the Asian Games.”
He also talked about Lee Kang-in, saying, “I heard that PSG had cleverly included a clause in his contract that would allow the club to call him up for the Asian Games. However, we need to use him for the September A match, so he will be called up to the A team and then join the Asian Games. He can be more effective if he plays at a high level in the September A matches and then goes to the Asian Games. Lee Kang-in has the ability, so if he joins the Asian Games after the A-match, he will adapt quickly,” he said. However, this is not an easy situation.
It’s a disappointing injury for Lee, who will have to adapt to a new team. PSG will also be without him for a while. Lee joined PSG this summer. A product of Valencia’s youth academy, he was highly touted at the start of his professional career. He made his first-team debut in the 2018 Copa del Rey (cup competition). At the time, he was 17 years, 8 months, and 11 days old, making him the youngest foreign debutant in Valencia’s history.
However, despite his promise, he was not given enough playing time. Eventually, Lee ended his stay with Valencia and moved on to a new challenge. His destination was Mallorca. In his first season, he spent his time in between starts and substitutions. In 30 Spanish La Liga games, he started 15 times.
Then, last season, he exploded onto the scene. A regular starter under Javier Aguirre, Lee scored six goals and provided six assists in 36 league games. As he excelled, his value naturally increased. According to soccer statistics website TransferMarkt, Lee’s price tag, which was €6 million at the end of last season, is now €22 million ($8.6 billion). It has almost quadrupled.
There were also transfer rumors. At first, Atletico Madrid was the favorite, but negotiations with Mallorca broke down over the transfer fee. Instead, PSG emerged as the new destination. The transfer didn’t happen quickly. PSG had a problem to solve first. They needed to change their coach. Although they won the French Ligue 1 title last season under Christophe Galtier, they were far from dominant.
The biggest disappointment was their performance in the UEFA Champions League (UCL). PSG has been trying to win the competition for a long time, but it hasn’t come to fruition. Last season, they were also eliminated in the round of 16. That’s why they decided to hire Luis Enrique. Enrique won the treble with Barcelona, including the UCL.
PSG first announced the appointment of Enrique, then followed it up with a series of official announcements of players who had been confirmed to leave the club, including Marco Asensio, Milan Skriniar, and Manuel Ugarte. Finally, in early July, the long-awaited signing of Lee Kang-in became “official”. Lee signed a five-year contract with PSG, retaining the number 19 he wore in Mallorca.
He made his unofficial PSG debut on July 22. Starting on the right flank in a preseason trial against Le Havre, he moved between the right and center of the pitch, showing excellent ball control and the ability to break away from pressure.
At the time, PSG Talk said: “One of the standout signings of the summer has been Lee Kang-In, who impressed in the friendly against Le Havre. He broke through the opposition pressure and showed great footwork,” and left a positive review.
Photo: PSG Talk
Photo: PSG Talk
However, Lee had to be substituted early on due to injury. Lee, who was not yet fully fit, overexerted himself and left the field after touching his hamstring. Luckily, it didn’t seem to be serious and he accompanied PSG on their tour of Japan. He returned to training but missed all three games in Japan.
Lee made his first appearance of the tour on the third day against Jeonbuk Hyundai in Busan. Lee came on as a second-half substitute to get a feel for the game. That was the end of the preseason. He then started against Lorient in the opening match of the 2023-24 French Ligue 1 season. After missing most of the preseason, Luis Enrique’s decision was made because he was feeling better.
His official debut was a good one, with Lee starting on the left flank but switching with Asensio to play down the left flank. He also worked diligently to create scoring chances on the right side, mainly with Hakimi and other midfielders such as Vitinha and Zaire-Emeri.
He made his presence felt on the pitch for around 80 minutes. His sharp kicks, dribbling, and set-piece attempts were outstanding. According to soccer stats site Fúscore.com, Lee had three shots on goal and 85 touches on the ball. He also attempted 59 passes, completing 52 of them for an 88% passing success rate. He also attempted one key pass.
An impressive metric was the number of successful dribbles. Lee had the most dribbling attempts and successes of any player on either side, completing three out of his four dribbling attempts (75% success rate). Lorient’s Favre attempted the same four dribbles as Lee, but only managed two. Fúscore.com gave Lee a rating of 6.9.
After watching the debut, the Ligue 1 secretariat voted Lee ‘The Player’, saying, “Lee Kang-in and Asensio deserve to be praised for the passion they showed on the pitch. Maybe next time we’ll see them basking in victory. Messi’s absence was still huge, but Lee did a great job in his place. PSG may be disappointed with the result, but Lee will be happy with his performance, becoming the first Korean player in PSG’s history to do so.”
France’s Foot Mercato also gave Lee a 6 rating, saying, “The Korean gem made his debut at the Parc des Princes and played to his strengths. His lively movement made him the catalyst of PSG’s opening game.” Lee’s rating of 6 was the second highest on the team behind Ugarte’s 7.
“Unfortunately, PSG had no one to receive his crosses, and his presence faded as time went on. However, his dribbling ability proved worthy of being utilized more in the future.”
RMC Sport of France also wrote: “Lee Kang-in was the only spark. PSG definitely dominated the game, but they lacked pace and clear-cut chance creation. On the right flank, Lee tried to break through Lorient’s dense defense with several dribbles, and Hakimi was also involved, but his accuracy was not good at the end.”
“Lee will have to fill a big void left by Messi’s departure, but he enjoyed moving around in the areas where Messi usually plays. PSG may have been disappointed not to win their opening game. However, they will be pleased with the performance of their first Korean player, Lee Kang-in.”
Lee also started the second leg against Toulouse. While he has been consistently earning a starting spot under new coach Luis Enrique, there has been an injury twist. It’s only been two months since he joined PSG, but this is already his second start. He will be out for a month at a crucial time for him to compete for a starting spot and adapt. He’ll miss at least two Ligue 1 games before the September A-match break, and it’s possible he won’t be in the starting lineup immediately afterward.
With the return of Mbappe and the addition of Dembele, PSG will likely deploy them on the left and right flanks. In this case, Lee could play in the center. Vitinha, Zaire-Emericka, and Soler will be the other contenders. With Enrique opting to play three central midfielders, it’s a good competition for Lee.
“PSG have decided not to look internally for more midfielders,” says Le Parisien. Even if they change their minds, it won’t take long to find a playmaker,” adding that PSG will look internally for a solution.
“He is playing with confidence under Enrique, and Enrique is praising him. He needs to play as a left midfielder. He was at his best in Spain when he played in this role.”