The age of soccer superstars is getting much younger, and as the trend gradually becomes the usual, Times 24H says welcome to a whole new series. Welcome to the FIFA NextGen series! And the first episode, let’s talk about Lee Kang-in Valencia.

Heung-min Son is the current most attractive Korean player in the world. He is obviously the best of South Korea right now, but it does not mean that the future after Heung-min Son is mystical. This first episode of FIFA NextGen series will introduce a prospect of South Korea, someone who can replace Heung-min Son in the future and become the leader of the nation. His name is Lee Kang-in, the prospect of Valencia C.F and the attendee of the Korean national team at World Cup 2018.

Lee is young, only 19-year-old. Nonetheless, the Korean winger has already played for his club side professionally since 2016. The Korean prospect was found by Valencia C.F in the season of 2011-2012 during a school tournament.

Until now, Lee has already played for Valencia a total of 72 games. He scored just 7 goals and assisted 5 times. It is not an outstanding stats for a striker, but Lee is more than a striker. He is a wise, flexible, hard-working, and dedicated athlete.

Literally, Kang-in could play any roles that are assigned to him. He appeared as a left-winger, right-winger, attacking midfielder, second striker, and also center forward for Valencia. Whichever position he has to fill, Lee does it with a passionate heart and dedication.

That is why, even though Valencia suffered from a financial crisis last summer and had to sell out a lot of players, Lee is still being a part of the Spanish club. He is a flexible player that the club needs and they recognize his quick development in the last few years.

Lee has shown that he is strong, wise, and hard-working. Photo: AFP


Lee is the first Korean player that has ever played for Valencia, and he is also the first one that the club decided to keep when they suffered from the financial crisis. Besides him, Valencia also signed an extension with Carlos Soler, another graduate of Valencia youth academy.

The financial issue forces Los Che to sell several stars such as Ferran Torres, Dani Parejo, Francis Coquelin, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Rodrigo Moreno in the last summer. Those veteran players left the club, but not a prospect player like Lee. Perhaps, Valencia C.F recognizes his potential and wants to give him a chance. As a gift to the club, Lee scored 3 goals in the last 8 displays for Valencia.

Forbes ranked him in the top 30 under-30 talents of Asia. Such an honor for the South Korean athlete!

Currently, Lee’s talent is being followed by several Spanish clubs and German clubs, and probably, the Korean talent can make a transfer move this Winter. Valencia also confessed that they had trouble time negotiating with Lee since the player is concerned by several big clubs.

Juventus is one of them.

Lee can move to Juventus. Photo: AFP

Old Lady admired the talent of Lee for a while, and the Italian champion can make an offer for him this winter. The drawback of Lee is his playtime which holds him back in becoming a better version of himself. Lee only got 37.7 minutes average of playing time per game which is fairly low for the Korean striker.

“I don’t think he hasn’t got enough chances compared to other young talented players there, but this isn’t enough for him,” football columnist Park Jong-yoon said.

Despite the shortage of showcases, Lee is still followed by several big clubs. Juventus is a phenomenal example.

Lee is a record holder of Valencia when he became the youngest player who ever played for the first team of Los Che, and he could make a move-on if Valencia keeps wasting his playing time.

In the end, the young Korean is one to watch in the future. He is the FIFA NextGen part. No one knows how far he could make with the soccer world, but he has the potential to carry the future of the Korean national team.

We might see him in the Juventus soon.


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