“Can I have your jersey?” Ronaldo, Messi, Son Heung-min, and Kang-in wait for Vietnam’s national team.
Son Heung-min (31, Tottenham) and Lee Kang-in (22, Paris Saint-Germain) are global superstars for their Vietnamese counterparts.
The South Korean national soccer team, coached by Jürgen Klinsmann, thrashed Vietnam 6-0 in a friendly A match on Sunday at 8 p.m. at Suwon World Cup Stadium. Captain Son Heung-min and youngest player Lee Kang-in both scored a goal and an assist to lead South Korea to a dominant victory.
The Vietnamese team didn’t leave the field after the game. They waited for the Korean players to circle the field and greet the home fans, especially Son Heung-min. He was the last to head to the locker room after finishing his on-air interview and saying goodbye to the fans.
Vietnam captain Nguyen Ok Hai (30-Binh Duong), who was absent due to injury, grabbed him and politely asked for a photo. After taking the photo, he took a pen out of his pocket and asked Son to sign his jersey. He posted the photo and the autograph on social media, writing “Woww Sonny” underneath.
Striker Nguyen Dinh Bac (19-QNK Quang Nam) watched from the sidelines and waited for his turn. Not only Ngoc Hai and Dinh Bac, but also the Vietnamese coaching staff were busy getting Son’s autograph. Heung-min shook hands with them with a smile on his face and said goodbye.
Some players were looking for Lee Kang-in. “Player No. 17 asked for my jersey, so I gave it to him,” Lee told the press. Vietnam’s No. 17 is Bo Minh Trong (21-Binh Duong), who scored an own goal in the fifth minute of the second half.
Hwang Eui-jo (31-Norwich City) also received a jersey request. Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Anh (27-Nam Dinh FC) took Hwang’s jersey and went into the locker room. He had played for Seoul Eland in the K League 2 for the first half of the year. At the time, Hwang Ui-jo was playing for FC Seoul in the K League 1. Even though they were in different leagues, the two players had something in common: they both played for Seoul-based K League teams.
Hwang Hee-chan (27-Wolverhampton) only received photo requests, not jerseys. “There was no Vietnamese player who asked me for a jersey,” he said, laughing, “only players who asked to take a picture.” As such, the Vietnamese players left the stadium with memories of their Korean counterparts.
Duy Anh Thu, a reporter for Vietnamese media outlet Bongda, told us at the Suwon World Cup Stadium, “Vietnamese captain Nguyen Hai is a big fan of Son Heung-min. The day before the game, he contacted the South Korean national team and asked, ‘Even if Son Heung-min is absent, I would like to have a chance to take a photo with him later. Nguyen Ok Hai told us that he likes Son Heung-min so much that he even imitated Son Heung-min’s kick after scoring a goal 토토사이트.”
Requests for opposing players’ jerseys are not uncommon in the world of soccer. Cristiano Ronaldo (28-Alnasr) and Lionel Messi (36-Inter Miami) are two of the most famous examples. After playing A matches for the Portuguese and Argentine national teams, respectively, Ronaldo and Messi received countless requests for jersey exchanges and photos from opposing players. Sometimes, even referees would ask them for their jerseys.
It’s a clear indication that the Korean players’ status has risen. Reporter Duy Anh Thu said, “Our players were excited to see world-class players like Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in, and Hwang Hee-chan play against Vietnam. They are the most popular Asian players in Vietnam,” he said, giving them a thumbs-up.