After more than a decade outside of his homeland, the ‘Blue Dragon’ is back.
While Lee Chungyong – “Chungyong” literally means “Blue Dragon” in Korean – ended his overseas adventure, which included almost 200 appearances for Bolton Wanderers and shorter stays with Crystal Palace and Bochum, another adventure of a completely different nature started for the skillful winger.
While some of his surroundings will surely have been familiar to him when he returned to the Republic of Korea, playing for a new club and in one of the first leagues operating during the COVID 19 crisis will somehow become like foreign territory feel for the 31 year old.
“It feels special to come back and play on home soil,” Lee Chungyong told FIFA.com. “It means a lot for the K League to resume while most of the other leagues in the world are closed. The situation here, that.” We started again and are proud of ourselves. We Koreans have a sense of community that has helped us unite against this crisis. “
Lee noted that the combination of the public’s willingness to follow government guidelines and the dedication of medical personnel across the country led to football’s return to the peninsula: “We are indeed lucky.”
Being one of the few leagues in the game brings a whole new level of global attention. How does he and the players deal with it?
“Attention helps us to focus even more on our football, both in training sessions and in games, so that we can make people happy by playing high quality football. We want to present the best that we have to offer. “
This can certainly be seen in Ulsan’s game in the last two game days, which is underlined by an incredible comeback win in Suwon after the 2-0 win over the Bluewings.
But what was it like as a player during the COVID 19 crisis, apart from early success on the field?
“We use individual water bottles,” said Lee. “We mark our own numbers on bottle caps and that has become routine before training sessions and games. There is less close physical contact even when we celebrate goals.
“And although we can’t have the fans in the stadium yet, the sound of the support chants from the speakers has had a positive effect. We can’t compare it to the actual sound, but it reminded us of our fans.” and we even felt connected.
“Fans abroad may not know the league and the players as well as others, but our football is different from that in Europe.” I can assure you that the players, clubs, and the league are at a very competitive level.
“Each club has its own style, which turns out to be a very attractive dynamic. Newcomers to the K League will find the joy of football here easily. In addition, the K League clubs perform well every season in the AFC Champions League. I. I hope football fans around the world have the opportunity to join the K League this season. “