Enrique’s rebuttal toward Lee Kang-in’s hundred million, “You haven’t seen La Liga, have you? You’re a player with everything.”

UEFA held a draw ceremony for the round of 16 of the 2023-2024 UEFA Champions League in Nyon, Switzerland, on the 18th (Korea time). The 16 teams that ranked first and second in each group will compete for the quarterfinals.

The top seed in the group and the second seed in the group will have a showdown, and teams belonging to the same national football association cannot meet in the round of 16. The same applies to teams that were in the same group. 스포츠토토

PSG, which was in the Death Group, also secured a spot in the round of 16. PSG ranked second in Group F after fierce competition with Dortmund, AC Milan, and Newcastle United. It had the same points as AC Milan, which was in third place, but managed to secure a berth in the round of 16 as they were ahead of the goal difference. The top spot was Dortmund.

Now PSG’s next opponent is Spanish powerhouse Sociedad. Sociedad beat Inter Milan, Benfica, and Salzburg in Group D to advance to the round of 16 tournament as No. 1 in their group.

The match couldn’t be better for PSG. Sociedad is far behind other top-ranked teams in their group, including Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Sociedad, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, and FC Barcelona. French team L’Equipe also said, “I met the most suitable opponent. I cannot guarantee (the win), but it was a good opportunity.”

On the contrary, there is no stronger team than PSG in Copenhagen, Eindhoven, Napoli, Inter Milan, Lazio, Leipzig and Porto. Spain’s Mundo Deportivo expressed regret, saying that Sociedad will face off against an opponent that no one wanted to avoid.

It could not be more interesting for Korean and Japanese soccer fans. Because the unexpected match between Korea and Japan took place. Lee Kang-in and Gubo, who are expected to be the future of Korean and Japanese soccer, will play a real match on the star stage, respectively.

The two have something in common that they learned soccer on the Spanish stage since they were young. The photo of Lee Kang-in and Gubo holding hands in 2013, 10 years ago, is also drawing attention again. At that time, Lee Kang-in left a commemorative photo wearing a Valencia uniform and Gubo wearing a Barcelona uniform.

Lee Kang-in and Gubo, friends born in 2001, were in the same team. The two players arrived in Mallorca side by side in the summer of 2018. Lee Kang-in built a bird’s nest in Mallorca on a free contract, and Gubo, who was a member of Real Madrid, joined on a season-long loan. The two revealed their friendship by posting photos of themselves enjoying a sauna together on social media.

Their short relationship ended when Gubo left Mallorca in the summer of 2022. However, Lee and Gubo continued their friendship by celebrating each other’s birthday through social media. Gubo shared a picture of them together during their time in Mallorca and congratulated them with “Happy Birthday Hermano” in Korean.

He also met as an enemy in January. At that time, Lee Kang-in and Gubo played in the round of 16 in the Copa del Rey wearing Mallorca and Sociedad uniforms. Lee Kang-in started, and as Gubo replaced him, the showdown took place. Since then, as Lee Kang-in moved to the French stage, he thought it would be difficult to see the two meet anymore, but the two faced each other in the bigger stage, the UCL round of 16.

Mallorca was the land of opportunity for both players. Lee Kang-in became the ace of Mallorca last season with six goals and six assists in the league. And last July, he succeeded in entering PSG as the “French champion.”

Lee Kang-in has been consistently playing in PSG, showing his strengths. Recently, he has started five consecutive games, strengthening his position as a starting player. At the beginning of the season, he was away due to injuries and Asian Games, raising concerns, but since the A match in October, he has captured the hearts of Luis Enrique with two goals and one assist.

Kubo is also an ace player in Sociedad. He scored nine goals and four assists in the league last season alone, and was named the club’s player of the year. He has six goals and three assists in the league this season as well. In October, he won the La Liga Player of the Month award for the first time in his career.

Lee Kang-in and Gubo also seem to be expecting a first face-off in a long time. Gubo quickly posted a match against PSG on social media and tagged Lee Kang-in, and Lee Kang-in responded by sharing it as it was. Lee Kang-in and Gubo, who met as elementary school students 10 years ago, are now in a situation where they have to knock each other down.

Lee Kang-in and Gubo may meet first at the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup. As the two are mainly playing for the Korean national team and the Japanese national team, their participation in the Asian Cup is also close to a given. The Asian Cup final will be held on February 11 next year in Korean time, so it may be difficult to play the first round of the UCL round of 16 on February 15.

Facing each other is also a hot topic in Japan. “Kubo and Lee Kang-in, who played together two years ago, will meet again,” said Japan’s Football Zone. Both of them are likely to play in the final of the Asian Cup, which will take place on February 10. However, the world is paying attention to their showdowns at the European summit.

Meanwhile, there were criticisms against Lee Kang-in ahead of the match. He was criticized sharply because he played only 68 minutes in the match against Borussia Dortmund in the final Group E match of the UEFA Champions League last week.

French soccer commentator Pierre Menes criticized, “There is no personality. It does not have the forward pass skills we expected.” In many ways, the opinion that it is too harsh is dominant. At the time of the match against Dortmund, Lee Kang-in played 68 minutes as a starter. He recorded three shots and one successful dribble.

Not only Menes but also Foot Mercato said, “Lee Kang-in started as a starter. It was his chance to shine in attack and display his technical dominance. However, he made inaccurate passes one after another. He did the exact opposite, not affecting his defense,” adding that he only gave three points.

In addition to this, Lee Kang-in played well in the match against Lille, but there were opinions that disparaged the team’s poor performance as an excuse. Coach Enrique, who has been in favor of recruiting Lee Kang-in and continues to praise him while appreciating him, has directly refuted the criticism.

“Someone who hasn’t watched La Liga probably doesn’t know Lee Kang-in. But he is a very good player,” Enrique told a news conference. “Not only is he capable of many positions, but he has both skill and dedication. He is even funny and nice. He has everything.”

Coach Enrique actually praised Lee Kang-in compared to Mbappe steadily or praised Lee Kang-in’s talent in multi-position. The steady use of Lee Kang-in in the third line rather than the second line should be seen as this belief leading to selection opportunities.

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