Ulsan coach teammates tout K League MVP case foraptain LeChu

เวลาปล่อย:2022-11-22 13:49

SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) -- Ulsan Hyundai FC captain Lee Chung-yong did not post gaudy offensive numbers for his K League 1 club this year, but his head coach and teammates couldnt care less about statistics.

They believe Lee should win the MVP award this year for all the intangibles he brought to the title-winning club.

Ulsan clinched their first K League 1 title in 17 years on Sunday thanks to a 2-1 victory over Gangwon FC. In the immediate aftermath, head coach Hong Myung-bo and a few teammates, unprompted in some cases, said Lee should be the MVP this season.

Lee, who has scored two goals and had two assists in 34 matches in 2022, was officially nominated for the top individual prize on Tuesday. And Hong said at a press conference Wednesday that his captain should be the no-brainer winner.

Just because a player doesnt have a lot of goals or assists, it doesnt mean that player doesnt deserve to be the MVP, Hong said from the teams clubhouse in the southeastern city of Ulsan. If you look at the big picture, Lee Chung-yong has played a tremendous role in helping us win the title. And MVPs have usually come from championship teams. He should absolutely be the MVP.

During his playing days, Hong captained South Korea to the semifinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Hes considered one of the greatest leaders in South Korean sports, not just in football, and he said he put the captains armband on Lee last year because he was the one he could trust the most.

He is maybe a different type of leader than some other captains in the league, and I am sure he had his own issues to deal with this year, Hong said. But I think being captain helped with his own development as a man and an athlete. He has been the spiritual leader and role model for everyone here.

Goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo called Lee the grand master of football.

The way he comes in and stabilizes everything, I cant even describe it. Hes incredible, Jo said. Whether its his performance or his leadership away from the pitch, I think he has to win the MVP.

Defender Kim Tae-hwan said Lee is a warm, compassionate leader who pays attention to small details when it comes to building relationships with his teammates. Kim said he also appreciates the way Lee respects different opinions within the team and brings everyone together.

I think the MVP award should go to the best player on the best team in the league, Kim said. To me, thats Lee Chung-yong.

After the joint press conference for the trio ended, Lee had his own online media session, where he was told of the support from his coach and teammates minutes earlier. The soft-spoken 34-year-old said all that attention made him feel a bit uncomfortable.

I am grateful to be considered an MVP candidate. Its an honor, he said. The MVP award should go to the best player. I feel bad for some of my teammates whove performed better than I have this year. I havent thought about the MVP yet. I havent even touched the championship trophy yet.

Lee said he still has long ways to go as a leader and thanked other members of the leadership group for their support.

There were times when I had to come down hard on the boys during matches, and I am thankful that they didnt take it personally, Lee said. I had some great veterans that had my back the whole season. Ive learned so much from those guys and our coaches. This has been a special year.

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