Kim Min-jae, the ‘monster’ who wrote new history, is included in Asia’s only 30 Ballon d’Or candidates! The 5th Korean player in history and the first as a defender!

‘Monster’ Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) wrote another new history.

France Football announced the list of 30 candidates for the 2023 Ballon d’Or through its official SNS on the 7th (Korean time). The Ballon d’Or is the biggest award an individual soccer player can receive. The best stars of the time, including ‘GOAT’ Lionel Messi, who finally won the 2022 Qatar World Cup, as well as ‘treble’ Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, and Harry Kane, were all named. Among them was Kim Min-jae. This is the fifth feat for a Korean player. Seol Ki-hyun in 2002, Park Ji-sung in 2005, and Son Heung-min in 2019 and 2022 have been selected as candidates twice. This is the first selection as a defender. Even if the scope is expanded to all of Asia, this is the first time that an Asian defender has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or.안전놀이터

The Ballon d’Or basically favors strikers. The most recent defender to win the Ballon d’Or was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. Afterwards, Virgil van Dijk was mentioned as a strong candidate, but failed to win the award. Of the 30 candidates, 15, or the majority, were strikers. If you include attacking midfielders such as Kevin De Bruyne, Jamal Musiala, and Martin Odegaard, the number is much higher.

Right now, there are only three defenders included in this list, including Kim Min-jae. Only Ruben Dias, who led Manchester City to the treble, and ‘genius defender’ Joszko Gvardiol. This is a passage that shows the extent of Kim Min-jae’s performance.

Minjae Kim became the ‘King of Defense’ last season in Italy, the ‘home of defense’. Minjae Kim conquered Italy in just one season. Kim Min-jae won the ‘2022-2023 Serie A Best Defender Award’. Kim Min-jae beat ‘teammate’ Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Naples) and AC Milan’s special fullback Theo Hernández. Kim Min-jae is the first Asian player to win the Serie A Best Defender Award, which was first established in the 2018-2019 season. This is also the first time in history that a member of the winning team received this award. Kim Min-jae became the ‘best defensive player’ in Italy, the ‘home of defense’ that created the cross-border defense. Minjae Kim was also selected as Serie A’s official ‘Team of the Year’, reaffirming that he is one of the best players in Serie A this season.

Minjae Kim performed best in the 2022-2023 season. Minjae Kim wore the Naples uniform last summer. Napoli, which sent ‘legend’ Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea, selected a ‘Korean centre-back’ who showed his best performance in one season at Turkye Fenerbahce as a replacement. Napoli paid a buyout of 20 million euros and signed Kim Min-jae, who had been actively courted by Stade Rennes, in a move that was close to a hijacking.

This choice ended up being the best move. Kim Min-jae, who started as an unfamiliar left center back, showed great success from the beginning of the season and quickly became a central player. Last September, Kim Min-jae was selected as Serie A’s ‘Player of the Month’. Kim Min-jae was the first Asian nationality player to be selected as the Serie A Player of the Month, which has been awarded since the 2019-2020 season. In October, he was honored with the Italian Footballers’ Association Player of the Month award. He left a strong impression from the beginning and even earned the nickname ‘Iron Pillar.’ Kim Min-jae, who played in 35 league games, ranked first among Serie A center backs on various statistical sites.

He was even evaluated as the best center back in Italy and the world. In an aggressive Luciano Spalletti-style strategy, Kim Min-jae achieved amazing results with aggressive defense. A relay of praise followed from legends such as Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Costacurta. He was called the best center back this season, along with Manchester City’s Ruben Dias and John Stones, Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo, and Real Madrid’s Eder Militan. Even though he only played for one season, he is enough to be mentioned in Napoli’s all-time best 11.

Thanks to Kim Min-jae’s outstanding performance, Napoli won a thrilling league championship trophy for the first time in 33 years. This is the third time that Napoli has won the championship since the 1986-1987 season and 1989-1990 season when the late ‘legend’ Diego Maradona was active. Kim Min-jae became the first Korean to win the Scudetto. Based on Europe’s top five leagues, this is the third time a Korean has won the trophy, after Manchester United’s Park Ji-sung and Bayern Munich’s Jung Woo-young. This is the first win for a defender. This is the first time that an Asian player has won the Serie A championship since Hidetoshi Nakata of AS Roma in the 2000-2001 season.

Kim Min-jae, who attracted the attention of big clubs throughout the season with his amazing performances, saw his value rise even more as time passed. He rose to €60 million on Transfermarkt. It was the highest price for a Korean player, higher than that of Son Heung-min. Throughout this summer, Kim Min-jae received calls from big clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​and Paris Saint-Germain. It was truly an unprecedented saga that could not be considered a transfer rumor for a Korean player. The race to recruit Kim Min-jae was hot until the end. There was even a hijacking attempt by Manchester United and Newcastle. But the conclusion was Bayern.

At first, Kim Min-jae was in the mood to confirm his move to Manchester United. The specific salary and transfer date were also revealed. Afterwards, there was even a report saying that ‘a trip to Manchester United has been confirmed.’ Italy’s Il Martino said, ‘Kim Min-jae has completed preparations for a transfer to Manchester United. He said he would join on July 1st if the buyout amount is paid. The Sun reported that ‘Kim Min-jae’s transfer to Manchester United has been confirmed’ and that ‘Kim Min-jae is Manchester United’s first signing this summer and will officially join on July 1st.’

The story between Kim Min-jae and Manchester United lasted for over a month. Manchester United, defended by the combination of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, is suffering from problems with the durability of the two players. Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly are also suffering from frequent injuries. By recruiting Kim Min-jae, they clearly wanted to have a championship-caliber defense team. This is the background to director Eric ten Haag’s selection of Kim Min-jae. However, although Manchester United is receiving a lot of salary, the issue of releasing Harry Maguire, who has been reduced to a villain, has not been resolved, and the most important acquisition issue has also become a problem.

Meanwhile, Bayern took an active role. On July 15th, when Kim Min-jae went to receive military training, the atmosphere completely changed. Florian Plettenberg’s report was the start. Influential reporters such as Santi Auna and Romano actively participated. In particular, coach Thomas Tuchel was eager to recruit Kim Min-jae. According to Bild, coach Tuchel reportedly even had a direct video call with Kim Min-jae. Coach Tuchel, who has worked with Koo Ja-cheol and Park Joo-ho, is known to have actively appealed to this fact.

After a long and drawn-out negotiation, an official decision was finally made. A historic moment unfolded in which a Korean player with a high possibility of playing as a starting player was born, recruited by the best club ‘Leva Mun (Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Bayern Munich)’, a symbol of the once impenetrable European elite. Bayern signed Kim Min-jae, who played for Naples, through the club’s official channel. His contract lasts 5 years, until 2028. He said, ‘Kim Min-jae wears the number 3 uniform.’ Kim Min-jae became the second Korean player to join Bayern after Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart).

The transfer fee was not disclosed, but is estimated to be 50 million euros (about 71 billion won). Kim Min-jae set a buyout at the time of signing with Naples, which is known to be 50 million euros. There are reports that the transfer fee has increased somewhat due to recent negotiation issues with Naples, so it could be more than that. What is certain is that it is the highest transfer fee for a Korean player and the highest transfer fee for an Asian player. Previously, the highest record for a Korean player was 30 million euros (approximately 42.6 billion won) recorded by Son Heung-min when he transferred to Tottenham in 2015, and the highest record for an Asian player was 35 million euros (approximately 49.7 billion won) recorded by Shoya Nakajima when he joined Al Duhail. . Kim Min-jae became the third most expensive man in Bayern history, following Lucas Hernández (80 million euros, approximately 113.6 billion won) and Matthijs de Ligt (67 million euros, approximately 95.1 billion won).

Kim Min-jae has established himself as a solid starting player at Bayern. Despite the aftermath of his military training, Kim Min-jae played his pre-season normally and learned Tochel-style tactics. Minjae Kim made his debut against Kawasaki Frontale on July 29 in Tokyo, Japan. Even though he was not in normal condition due to the aftermath of his military training, he left a strong impact with his good play. Minjae Kim received a rating of 7.5 and was the highest rated among Bayern’s defenders. He started in the pre-season game against Liverpool held at Singapore National Stadium on the 2nd and played 45 minutes in the first half. Kim Min-jae also performed well on this day. Kim Min-jae, who played as the left center back of the back four, provided a spectacular assist and recorded his first offensive point since moving to Bayern. Kim Min-jae showed the most impressive performance in his defense and once again received favorable reviews. Kim Min-jae made a fantastic long pass to Serge Gnabry, who was penetrating in the 33rd minute of the first half. It was an amazing long pass that advanced more than 40 meters. Kim Min-jae’s pass was masterfully connected to Gnabry, who passed a defender and finished calmly, scoring Bayern’s first goal of the day. It was Kim Min-jae’s first point of attack after transferring to Bayern. This was exactly the play that coach Tuchel wanted when recruiting Kim Min-jae.

In the last pre-season game against AS Monaco on the 8th, Minjae Kim played 63 minutes. But there was a mistake. He gave up the first goal with a fatal pass miss. As it was a disappointing game, harsh criticism continued. After the game, Tuchel told the club’s official website: “We did a lot of things well, but there are still areas to improve. We started the game very well and should have taken the lead, but our mistakes got us a bit lost.” pointed out.

Minjae Kim made his official debut in the German Super Cup in the 2023-2024 season against Leipzig. He finished his official debut cleanly, although he was buried in his team’s 0-3 defeat. Minjae Kim took the field in place of Matthias de Ligt at the start of the second half. Kim Min-jae showed good performance by winning a speed battle with opponent Royce Offenda in the 14th minute of the second half and making a perfect tackle in the 25th minute of the second half. In particular, the highlight was the scene in the 25th minute when Benjamin Seszko blocked the goalkeeper when he had a chance to score.

Kim Min-jae, who has been gradually building up his body, made his league debut against Werder Bremen, and in the last game against Monchengladbach, he appeared to have succeeded in a soft landing by playing full-time for the first time since entering Germany.

Kim Min-jae’s selection as a Ballon d’Or candidate is truly a ‘great achievement of all time.’ Korean soccer is slowly expanding its presence in the Ballon d’Or. In 2019, Son Heung-min succeeded in winning the vote and ranked 22nd in the Ballon d’Or. It was the first vote that Korean soccer received at the Ballon d’Or. Son Heung-min was once again nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 2022 and placed 11th, his highest ever. At the time, Son Heung-min won the English Premier League top scorer in the 2021-2022 season. 11th place is still the highest ranking in Asia.

It will be difficult for Kim Min-jae to surpass this record right now, but just being nominated for the Ballon d’Or as a disadvantaged defender is truly amazing. Of the 30 Ballon d’Or candidates last year, the only defenders were Van Dijk and Antonio Rudiger. That’s why Kim Min-jae’s selection as a candidate is a huge deal.

Meanwhile, this year’s Ballon d’Or will be condensed into a two-way match between Messi and Holland. The Ballon d’Or, which had nothing to do with the World Cup, is completing the final puzzle and is aiming for the 8th Ballon d’Or overall. Messi brought the World Cup to his country with a one-man show, scoring 7 goals and 1 assist in 7 games in the World Cup. After entering the United States, he created even more cartoon-like things. He led Inter Miami, which was in last place, to its first ever championship. Haaland is no slouch either. He moved to Manchester City last season and showed his prowess, scoring 52 goals in all competitions. He exploded with 36 goals in the English Premier League, breaking Alan Shearer’s record for most goals in a season. Holland led Manchester City to a treble, including their first-ever European Champions League win.

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