South Korean football legend Cha Bum-kun has spoken highly of the influx of players from his country currently plying their trade in the German Bundesliga.
The likes of Son Heung-min at one of Cha’s former clubs Bayer Leverkusen, FSV Mainz pair Koo Ja-cheol and Park Joo-ho, striker Ji Dong-won and his FC Augsburg defender teammate Hong Jeong-ho represent South Koreans in Germany and are all crucial players at their respective clubs.
Cha, who scored goals at will for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer throughout the 1980s, told Bundesliga.com that the invasion of Taeguk Warriors players in Deutschland is of great benefit to the state of football in his country.
He also suggested that the German top flight, and no longer the English Premier League, is the place to be for up and coming Korean footballers.
“They're very hard-working and adaptable and always put themselves fully at the service of the team, which is just the mix required for the modern game. They follow the coach's instructions as well and don't make a fuss,” said the former star striker who is the South Korean national team’s all-time leading scorer.
“The style of play there (in Germany) suits them. Until very recently, the English Premier League was the dream destination for most Korean players and Ji-Sung Park at Manchester United was the ultimate career role-model. But the Bundesliga's come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years and now it's one of the best leagues in the world.”
As for the future, Cha is confident that players from all over Asia’s east, not just South Korea, will soon be making their way to the western-central Europe.
“It won't just be Koreans, there'll be an on-going influx into the Bundesliga from other Far Eastern nations over the next few years,” he added.
“Seeing Japanese and South Koreans perform well for top clubs week-in, week-out is just adding to the self-belief and making young players even keener to test themselves in Europe. They're good enough to do it.”
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