The spotlight is on Hwang Sun-hong as he attempts to win a third consecutive Asian Games title.
French giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have allowed their ‘ace’ Lee Kang-in (22) to leave the Hangzhou Asian Games squad sooner than expected.
“PSG sent a message to the Korean Football Association on the night of the 13th, saying, ‘We will allow Lee Kang-in to join the Asian Games team after the first match of Group F of the 2023-2024 European Champions League against Dortmund (Germany) on the 20th.'” Multiple sources familiar with the soccer world said on Thursday. 안전놀이터
According to the official, Lee is scheduled to arrive in the Chinese city of Jinhua, which will host the tournament’s soccer events, on Nov. 21. After traveling to Hangzhou, China, for the final match on Sept. 16, Hwang will open the group stage with a first-leg match against Kuwait on Sept. 19. Lee Kang-in’s arrival is scheduled for the second game of the group stage against Thailand. Therefore, Lee Kang-in is expected to be available for the third match against Bahrain on the 24th after local acclimatization and conditioning.
Initially, PSG had informed Lee that he would be released after the sixth round of the 2023-2024 French Ligue 1 season against Marseille on May 25. If Hwang had accepted PSG’s plan, Lee could have skipped the group stage and started playing in the tournament, with the possibility of using him in the round of 16 instead of the quarterfinals, depending on his fitness, conditioning, and local adaptation.
If things continued like this, Hwang had extreme measures in mind. He would leave Lee Kang-in off the roster. Using Lee Kang-in from the start of the tournament would have disrupted the team atmosphere. In team sports, a “one-man team” has a better chance of winning a gold medal.
However, Lee actively tried to convince PSG. The Asian Games call-up was already part of his contract when he joined PSG from Mallorca, Spain, but it was up to him and his agent to push for an earlier release. As a result, Lee joined Hwang Sun-hong five days earlier than PSG wanted.
Another issue for Lee was his physical condition. He injured his left quadriceps after the match against Toulouse on August 20. PSG announced on their website that Lee would be out until the end of the A-match break in September.
Hwang has been in constant contact with Lee to check on his physical condition. “I received an official email from him and heard that his (injury) recovery is fast,” Huang told reporters during the Hangzhou Asian Games team’s training in Changwon on May 5. “I know he has been training with the ball since the first week of this month. “I know he has been training with the ball since the first week of this month, and he is preparing to make his comeback in time for the weekend games after the A match in September.
According to the information Hwang has gathered, Lee has recovered quickly from his injury. On December 12, PSG released a video of Lee training on the club’s social media. In the video, Lee warmed up indoors with a trainer before heading out onto the field to practice with the team. He even took a shot at a mini-goal as he focused on preparing for his return to action.