A counterattack of the second generation of South Korea: 2 years, from the Chinese Super League to Bayern
On the evening of July 18, Beijing time, Bayern Munich officially announced the signing of South Korean central defender Kim Minya, and it is reported that the transfer fee is 50 million euros. Kim will sign a five-year contract with Bayern and wear the number 3 shirt. It is reported that the annual salary is 5 million euros to 6 million euros. Bayern will pay Napoli a €50 million liquidated damages, which expire before July 15, 2023.
It was not a simple signing, not only opening a new chapter in Bayern's defence, but also a major leap forward for Asian players. If you look closely at his struggle history, it can better reflect the difficulty of the South Korean international along the way.
Two years ago, he was criticized at Beijing Guoan. Today, Kim has completed the magical "3 consecutive jumps" - from the Chinese Super League to the European League, from the European League to the five major leagues, from the five major leagues to the top giants. Such success requires both opportunity and strength, and looking back on these wonderful and legendary two years, we should not only marvel at it, but also learn from it.
[Future star from the island, highly controversial national security career]
On November 15, 1996, Kim Min-ya was born in Tongyeong, South Korea. Tongyeongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do, is a famous summer resort in South Korea with a population of just 140,000 and made up of 151 islands. The superior geographical location has made Tongying City develop rapidly in recent years, but after all, it is difficult to compare with the real big city.
Kim Min-ya was able to stand in the European giants, thanks in large part to his excellent physical fitness. At the beginning of his debut, he was dubbed a "monster". Today, 1.90 meters tall and 80kg weight give him the power to fight against Europe's top forwards, many people think that Kim Minya's physical fitness is due to the acquired training, in fact, his family conditions are not good, although his parents are athletes, but retired earlier, failed to create good family conditions.
Perhaps with good genetics, Jin Minya inherited the strong physique of her parents, was superior at a young age, and showed good talent in football.
After his parents retired from the military, he returned to his hometown to run a sashimi shop with 6 small tables. The hardships of life made Jin Minya, although she was talented, she was delayed in getting training in the formal system. Sometimes, he even had to borrow football boots from friends in his village to play football.
It was in such a difficult environment that Kim gradually gained experience and was selected for the South Korean U17 national junior team for the first time in 2012, but because she had no money to stay in a hotel, she could only take her own truck to Seoul the night before the training camp. Three years later, Kim was admitted to Yonsei University and later fully trained in the Gyeongju Hydro Atomic Power in the third division. In a match, Kim Min-ya's excellent performance attracted the attention of Jeonbuk Hyundai coach Choi Kang-hee, and he officially joined as a free agent in January 2017.
The subsequent serious injury slowed Kim's development and also missed him from the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
During his two seasons with Jeonbuk Hyundai, Kim made 66 appearances, helping the team win two K-League titles and helping South Korea's U23s win the men's Asian Games title. Personally, he won the Rookie of the Year in his first season at Jeonbuk Hyundai, was selected for the South Korean national team, and even won a life-and-death match against Iran in the round of 12, establishing his future status in one fell swoop.
In January 2019, Jin Minya, who has already made a name for herself in China, joined Beijing Guoan for a transfer fee of 5.2 million euros. At that time, a number of European teams were already paying attention to Kim, including Premier League side Watford. The reason for going to Guoan is on the one hand due to the high salary offered by the Yulin Army (Kim Minya's salary in Guoan exceeds 3 million US dollars, about 3.4 billion won), on the other hand, it may also mean to go overseas to experience and continue to accumulate experience.
In Guoan, Jin Minya's controversy and praise coexisted. The physical confrontation comparable to the European defender made it quickly become the anchor of the national security defense, and in the opening stage of the 2019 season, Guoan won 10 consecutive victories, and Guoan only conceded two goals during this period. In these 10 games, Jin Minya played 7 games, his stable defensive performance was unanimously affirmed, defeated Guangzhou 1-0 away in a game, Jin Minya fought for the top 8 times, succeeded 7 times, and successfully solved 7 times, all the highest in the game, and scored 8.0 points in one fell swoop, which is the MVP of the team.
The turning point came in the second half of the season, when a 1-2 defeat to Port ended Guoan's winning streak, and Kim was slightly embarrassed in this game, having been beaten twice, the highest of the game, and only 6.1 points after the game. The match seemed to be a microcosm of Kim Min-ya's performance since then, with his performance being consistent enough against weak teams and often a bit reckless against strong teams.
That season, Guoan did not perform well in the strong dialogue, 1-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai, 0-1 Jeonbuk Hyundai, 1-2 Shanghai Port, 0-2 Shandong Taishan, 0-1 Jiangsu, 1-2 Shandong Taishan, etc., Jin Minya's on-court rating did not exceed 7 points, and many times there were even low-level mistakes. Against his old club Jeonbuk Hyundai, Kim Min-ya was out of form for the whole game, and was criticized by fans as "undercover": he was cut off with confidence in dribbling at the back, and Jeonbuk Hyundai counterattacked on the spot to break the goal.
Jin Minya fell into a downturn in Guoan, and his value fell frequently, at the lowest time only 800,000 euros.
Compared with the ups and downs on the field, what made Guoan fans angry was Jin Minya's off-court remarks.
During his vacation back in South Korea, Kim Min-ya spoke ill of his Guoan teammates (mainly referring to Yu Dabao) and coach (Genesio) in an interview with well-known anchor Park Mun-sung.
Jin Minya believes that he needs to do the work of two people on the field, and accuses Yu Dabao of switching to central defender after being a striker, and has insufficient understanding of defense, although he is a member of the Chinese national team, he does not know how to make up positions. Only Augusto of the whole team will take the initiative to pick him up, and the other players only know to stand and watch, which makes him very incomprehensible. Kim even said that he only knew the name of head coach Genesio and was not familiar with him at all.
As soon as this interview was broadcast, it immediately caused an uproar in China. Domestic fans and media criticized the Korean central defender, and many famous stars also appeared in a large number of his arrogant attitude. Dewey, who represented the national football team in the World Cup, said bluntly: "You really think of yourself as a world-class defender? If you don't see anything extraordinary, wash and sleep. Know how to respect others, others will respect you. Chinese talent player and future star He Xiaoke also directly criticized Jin Minya on social media, saying that Jin Minya is "fat and pig-like."
Seeing that the situation was out of control, Jin Minya also realized his mistake and immediately apologized to Guoan, willing to accept any punishment from the club. Later, the anchor who interviewed Kim Minya also issued a statement apologizing: "Many of the criticisms and corrections against me were correct, I should have been more cautious, but I didn't do it... I apologize to Kim Minya and the Beijing Guoan Club, and I sincerely apologize to those I hurt. ”
But how can the broken mirror be reunited, and the rift between Jin Minya and Guoan can no longer be repaired. Due to the impact of the epidemic, he only played twice for the team in the 2021 season, and on May 9, 2021, Kim Min-ya applied to the team to leave the team on the grounds of visiting a seriously ill family. Beijing Guoan agreed to Kim's request out of humanitarian concern, and who knew that the South Korean international was gone forever and never returned to China.
On August 14, 2021, Beijing Guoan Club officially announced that Jin Minya officially transferred and left the team. This time, he finally came to the other side of his dream - Fenerbahce of the Turkish Premier League brought him in for a transfer fee of 3 million euros, and the "dream of traveling in Europe" came true.
At that time, Jin Minya was worth 2 million euros.
【Tuchao sets sail, Serie A blooms】
From the Chinese Super League to the Turkish Super League, this is the starting point of Jin Minya's dream. But at least then, there weren't too many people who supported him.
Indeed, even in the Chinese Super League and the AFC Champions League, Jin Minya's rash performance is numerous. Can he stand firm in a more confrontational and competitive European arena?
On 22 August 2021, Kim made his debut against Antalya for Fenerbahce, completing a game-high tackle in the first match. In the highlight match against Galatasaray, Kim Min-ya, who started the game, lived up to expectations, performing consistently and accurately throughout the game, and was selected as MVP with 76.3% of the vote after the match.
In the 2021-22 season, Kim Minya quickly established himself as the main player in Fenerbahce with his excellent performance, making 40 appearances in the season, helping the team to win the second place in the Turkish Super League and also entered the Turkish Super League Team of the Season by the International Sports Research Center (CIES).
Despite only one season at Fenerbahce, this season was an important transition for Kim to develop into a first-class centre-back. As mentioned above, although Jin Minya had bright spots during her national security period, there were also a series of problems such as lack of concentration, lazy attitude and even rashness. Paulo Cannavaro, who once coached in China with his brother Fabio Cannavaro, has met Kim Min-ya several times. In this regard, Paul Cannavaro said:
"We used to specialize in Kim in China, and he was very good at that time, but he always felt a little absent-minded. However, this situation has completely changed since he went to Turkey to play. Like all Korean players, they are steel warriors. ”
Coming to Europe, where the overall level is higher, Kim Minya's game concentration has increased significantly, and low-level mistakes have been significantly reduced. More importantly, Jin Minya has further honed his physical confrontation ability, his average number of confrontation successes has risen to 4.5, the success rate has increased to 62%, and the number of successful confrontations on the ground and air has improved to varying degrees.
Fenerbahce proved to be the perfect springboard for Kim to set sail. With his excellent performance in the Turkish Super League, the five major leagues gradually paid attention to the South Korean international. On July 27, 2022, Napoli in Serie A officially announced the signing of Kim Min-ya for a transfer fee of 18.1 million euros, making him the second highest transfer fee South Korean player (after Son Heung-min). At this time, Kim Minya's value rose to 14 million euros, and she has become one of the most expensive Asian central defenders.
Kim was not enchanted by his fleeting success, and he had a bigger goal in mind – joining the Big Five was just the first step, and he was going to write a new chapter in Asia's centre-back in the land.
Serie A is much more competitive than the Turkish Super League, and being a central defender is full of pressure. Italian football has a tradition of focusing on defense, and Napoli's establishment of Kim Minya as the main central defender is both a brave attempt and a huge risk. At the beginning of the franchise, some fans questioned the South Korean, who had no experience in the five major leagues, and the official media of Naples welcomed the poster made by Kim Minya, which caused great controversy, and the public opinion around Kim Minya was once very serious.
Fortunately, the strength is enough to dissipate all doubts. In the first round of Serie A against Verona, the newcomer Kim Min-ya showed the style of a big general, the South Korean star made 82 passes, 75 precise passes and 4 clearances in a single game, all the highest of the game, helping the team to a 5-2 victory. In the second round against Monza, Kim opened his goal account with another brilliant header to help his team win by four goals. He personally succeeded in 4 long passes in that game, first in the game, and succeeded in all 4 times, ranking first in all statistics.
In all five league games in October, Kim started and played all games, and his excellent performances allowed him to completely conquer the fans, and Napoli also won all five games. What is even more eye-catching is that Kim Minya's outstanding ability to play the ball has been displayed, he has become an important shooting point for Napoli's defense, and with a defense as stable as Taishan Mountain, Kim Minya was selected by AIC as the best player of Serie A in October.
In January 2023, Kim was selected into the IFFHS 2022 AFC Team of the Year. In the 22-23 season, Kim averaged 80 passes per game, ranking first among all players in the same position; The total number of passes is 2,799, ranking first in the league; 2,548 successful passes, ranking first in the league; 122 times, ranking fifth in Serie A; The race for the top 93 times is the sixth place in Serie A. When Kim holds the ball forward, he can also have a 77% pass success rate up front, ranking third in the same position.
On May 5, in the 33rd round of Serie A, Kim Minya started the game, helping Napoli draw 1-1 away to Udinese, sealing the Serie A title five rounds early, becoming the first Korean player in history to win the Serie A title, the third Korean player to win the five major European leagues, and the Asian player to win Serie A again after 22 years after Hideju Nakata, and he was also named Serie A Defender of the Season and selected in the Serie A Team of the Season.
At this time, Kim Minya's value climbed further, reaching 60 million euros, surpassing national team teammate Son Heung-min to become the most expensive Asian player.
【New stop, Bayern Munich】
It only took more than two years, and Jin Minya's value skyrocketed from 800,000 to 60 million euros. Today, he is not only the number one central defender in Asia, but also the top central defender in football that can attract the attention of major giants. In the position of central defender who emphasizes physical confrontation, Kim Minya broke the racial doubt with a world-class performance and raised the ceiling of Asian central defender again.
Coming to Bayern, the flower praise enjoyed is certainly more spectacular; For Kim Min-ya personally, it was also a brave adventure. Bayern have the luxury of the forefront of football, not only dominating the Bundesliga for many years, but also in the Champions League. The team's goal is by no means to win the Bundesliga, but to attack the Champions League. From this point of view, Jin Minya is fully capable of standing on a higher stage and impacting greater glory.
The journey is far from over, and bigger surprises may be yet to come. But at the same time, risk and opportunity always coexist. Coming to Bayern means stronger teammates, better configuration and more pressure. This pressure comes both inside and off the field: on the one hand, despite sending away some defensive members, Bayern still have two stars in the central defensive position, Matthijs de Ligt and Yu Palmecano, and Kim must work harder to stay in the main team; On the other hand, coming to the top giants in Europe, the pressure of public opinion on the shoulders will inevitably be heavier. As an Asian, you must strengthen your psychological construction and prevent unnecessary external interference.
The much-anticipated transfer of Jin Minya has finally come to an end, and the rising new "Asian brother" has gone from 800,000 to 60 million in just over two years. From the Chinese Super League to Bayern, this is an unimaginable leap and the best reward for Jin Minya's hard work. The legend continues, how will Kim Minya's Bayern journey unfold? Let's wait and see.