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2019 Team K League: Where are they now?


In the summer of 2019, A squad of 20 players representing all 12 K League 1 teams at the time took on Juventus and put on something of a show to earn a 3-3 draw. But, where are those 20 players now?

Team K League's first match against a European giant was in 2019 when the then-reigning Serie A champions Juventus visited Korea as part of Mauricio Sarri's pre-season preparations. The match became known around the world for the now-infamous 'Ronaldo no-show' but for K League fans, it was a night of pride as this hodgepodge of a team that had had one training session together managed to earn a more than credible 3-3 draw.

FC Seoul's Osmar opened the scoring with just seven minutes on the clock with an absolute screamer from over 25 yards out. Juventus pegged Team K League back almost straightaway, though, through Simone Muratore but Team K League's lead was restored on the stroke of halftime thanks to a lovely strike into the far corner from Cesinha. 

In the second half, Adam Taggart put further daylight between the two teams but the Old Lady drew level with goals from Blaise Matuidi and Matheus Pereira.

But where are those players now, or perhaps more to the point, who did they play for back then?

21 Jo Hyeon-woo (Daegu FC)


Then of Daegu FC, Jo Hyeon-woo is now with reigning champions and runaway league leaders Ulsan Hyundai. Jo started in goal in the 2019 Team K League MAtch and played the first half, conceding just once - Simeone Muratore's equaliser in the ninth minute. The 2019 summer was Jo's last as a Sky Blue as he moved to Ulsan Hyundai at the start of 2020. Jo is also in the squad for this year's Team K League match having made it in via the manager's pick by Hong Myung-bo.

22 Hong Chul (Suwon Samsung Bluewings)


Another player with a Daegu connection is Hong Chul who started at left back against Juventus but came off at halftime. He is currently with Daegu FC but at the time he was with Suwon Bluewings and stayed with the club until 2020 before joining Ulsan. He won the AFC Champions League with the Horangi that season but is now on the books of Daegu FC where he has been since 2022.

4 Valentinos Sielis (Gangwon FC)


Valentinos is currently back in his native Cyrpus having just recently signed for Doxa Katokopias. He stayed at Gangwon until the end of the 2019 season before moving to Jeju United. Things didn't go to plan for him on the island, making just a handful of appearances before moving to Busan IPark in K League 2 where he departed at the end of the 2022 season. Valentinos was one of only two players who remained on the field for the full 90 minutes against Juventus.

6 Yun Young-sun (Ulsan Hyundai)


Yun Young-sun, who started at centre back alongside Valentinos, is currently a Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors player. At the time of the 2019 match against Juventus, he was on the books of Ulsan and has played for two other K League clubs in between. He was actually drafted in because of an injury to his Ulsan teammate at the time Dave Bulthuis. He is now on the books of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors after leaving Ulsan in 2020. There was a short loan spell at FC Seoul in 2020 and two seasons at Suwon FC but injuries kept him sidelined for much of his time at Castle Park.

2 Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)


In 2019, Lee Yong was the first choice right back from club and country but, at the age of 36, is now at Suwon FC after signing permanently with the club this year. Lee moved there on loan last season after being deemed surplus to requirements at Jeonbuk. Lee was one of eight players who played the first half but didn't return for the second.

5 Osmar Ibáñez (FC Seoul)


Club icon Osmar remains at FC Seoul and is now the club captain again having taken over the armband from Stanislav Iljutcenko earlier in the campaign. Osmar opened the scoring against Juve and did so in emphatic fashion, firing in a rocket from way out in the seventh minute. He got just under an hour under his belt against Juventus before being replaced by former FC Seoul teammate Yun Il-lok.


6 Yoon Bit-garam (Sangju Sangmu)


Yoon Bit-garam was still completing his military service with Sangju at the time of the match with Juventus. He returned to parent club Jeju United in the autumn, though, before securing a move to Ulsan Hyundai the year after when he won the AFC Champions League and was named as the competition's MVP. He then moved back to Jeju but is now on the books of Suwon FC with the club battling to avoid relegation. Yoon played the first half and was the only Team K League player to pick up a yellow card.

14 Kim Bo-kyung (Ulsan Hyundai)


Attacking midfielder Kim Bo-kyung was only on loan at Ulsan in 2019 from J.League side Kashiwa Reysol. He was named as K League 1 MVP in 2019 and then signed for Jeonbuk, a club he'd spent a season and a half with from 2016 to 2017. He's now with Suwon Bluewings, though, and fighting to stay in the top division.

11 Cesinha (Daegu FC)


Cesinha, who famously did the Ronaldo 'Siu' celebration right in front of the man himself when he scored against Juventus, is of course still with Daegu FC. He's the club captain again this season and has racked up over 250 appearances for the Sky Blues. Cesinha had every right to do the celebration as siu merely means 'yes' in his native tongue, Portuguese. 

20 Lee Dong-gook (c) (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)


The oldest Team K League player, a then-40-year-old, Lee Dong-gook skippered the Team K League side and played the first half He hung up his boots in 2021, ending his career with another K League 1 title with Jeonbuk to make it nine in total. He now works in television.

7 Éder Lima (Seongnam FC)


Now 36, Eder is on the books of Boavista SC in the regional leagues in Brazil. He left Seongnam in 2019 and joined Jeju for their 2020 K League 2 promotion push but made just four appearances for the islanders. He departed for China midway through that campaign and signed for second-tier outfit Jiangxi Lushan before moving to Super League side Tianjin Jinmen Tiger.



FNR


Substitutes

31 Song Bum-keun (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Song Bum-keun, who came on for the second half against Juve, is now in J.League with Shonan Bellmare after a trophy-laded spell with Jeonbuk. Song has been a regular for his new team but is yet to keep a cleansheet with them, conceding 35 goals in 18 appearances.

13 Kim Jin-ya (Incheon United)

Kim Jin-ya is one of the handful of FC Seoul vice captains having made the move from one end of the Gyeongin Expressway to the other. Kim came off the bench at halftime against Juventus and played the entire second half.

23 Lee Kwang-seon (Gyeongnam FC)

Lee Kwang-seon is still a Gyeongnam FC player although a lot has changed for the club since the summer of 2019. The Roses had a good go of the AFC Champions League Group Stage, winning two and drawing two but were knocked out. They then plummeted down the K League 1 table and were relegated via the playoffs by bitter rivals from the other side of the Nakdong River Derby, Busan IPark. They have been in K League 2 ever since and Lee has remained at Changwon throughout that time.

33 Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai)

Park Jo-hoo was a Suwon FC player up until fairly recently but the experienced and versatile former Korea international decided to hang up his boots mid-season. His last game for Suwon FC was against his former club Ulsan Hyundai, a game which Suwon lost

42 Mix Diskerud (Ulsan Hyundai)

Former USA international Mix Diskerud is currently a free agent after his deal with Omonia Nikosia in Cyrpus expired at the end of June. Mix played for three clubs in three different countries since leaving Ulsan, first signing for Helsingborgs in Sweden before moving to Turkish Super Lig side Denizlispor the year after. Omonia Nikosia in 2021 was up next where he stayed for two seasons and won back-to-back Cyprian Cups.

10 Park Chu-young (FC Seoul)


Now 38, Park Chu-young might not play a great deal these days but he's still registered as a player and is on the books of Ulsan Hyundai. He joined the Horangi in 2022 after his contract with FC Seoul expired in 2021. Park hasn't featured at all for Ulsan this season and, overall, he has made just 11 appearances for the club, six in K League 1.

18 Adam Taggart (Suwon Samsung Bluewings)


The scorer of Team K League's third goal of the night, Adam Taggart, is back in his native Australia with hometown club Perth Glory. The 2019 campaign was arguably Taggart's best ever as he won the K League golden boot and the FA Cup, thus far his only piece of major silverware. His stellar goal-scoring form attracted interest from J1 League giants Cerezo Osaka where he spent two years.

77 Wanderson (Pohang Steelers)


One of if not the most well-travelled foreign players in K League history, Wanderson, was a Pohang Steelers player at the time of the Juventus match and is today a Steeler as well, but that doesn't tell the full story. K League fans thought that they'd bid farewell to Wanderson forever when he departed Pohang for UAE Pro League side Ittihad Kalba in 2020. But, for what is now a third spell with the Steelers, Wanderson returned in 2022 and even at 34 remains an important member of the squad.

24 Yun Il-lok (Jeju United)

Image via Gangwon FC
Yun Il-lok is now a Gangwon FC player, on loan from Ulsan Hyundai. He was on loan at Jeju at the time of the Juventus friendly having left FC Seoul and joined Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan in January 2018. After suffering relegation with Jeju in 2019, Yun joined Montpellier in France and spent 18 months in Ligue 1 but sealed a return to K League with Ulsan in the summer of 2021. 


FNR

Manager: José Morais


Then Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors manager, José Morais is currently with Iranian outfit Sepahan FC in the Persian Gulf Pro League. He took over in June 2022 after a successful spell in Saudi Arabia with Al-Hilal, winning the Saudi league title in 2021. 


Highlights


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