Lee Kang-in, 22, will play in a Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) jersey in South Korea, and the anticipation is growing in France.
PSG will play a preseason friendly against Jeonbuk Hyundai at the Busan Asiad Stadium on March 3 at 5pm. PSG will then open the 2023-2024 Ligue 1 season on March 13. The match against Jeonbuk is a final warm-up.
Previously, PSG toured Japan for three matches, but the results were not favorable. They drew with Al Nasr (Saudi Arabia) and lost to Cerezo Osaka (Japan) and Inter Milan (Italy). The team’s performance was not at all up to expectations.
A turnaround was needed. Now PSG is on Korean soil. In fact, PSG had planned to end their Asian tour with a three-game series in Japan, but after signing Lee Kang-in, they quickly scheduled a friendly against Jeonbuk, hoping to capitalize on the marketing benefits of his popularity.
A lot of eyes will be on Lee’s availability. He started last month’s match against Le Havre and played well before being substituted due to injury. Lee won the hearts of PSG fans with his trademark flamboyant breakaways, crisp passing, and ability to get involved in the defense before leaving the field in the 42nd minute with a thigh strain.
However, he has been sidelined ever since: he was excluded from team training and, unsurprisingly, missed all three matches in Japan. After focusing on his own recovery, he recently returned to team training, but did not feature against Inter.
The team is now trying to time his return. It’s believed that his muscle injury isn’t too serious and that he’s already started training, so he should be back soon.
’90min France’ predicted that both Lee and Neymar would be substitutes. “Fresnel Kimpembe will not play due to injury, but Neymar and Lee Kang-in are expected to return and play a few minutes against Jeonbuk,” the outlet said, adding, “Lee Kang-in should play to attend a party in his hometown and will probably score his first goal for PSG.”
The UK’s Sports Mall went even further, predicting that Lee would start. “PSG will need to make a lot of changes as they play again in just 48 hours. Expect to see the South Korean international from the opening whistle,” and predicted that Lee, Hugo Ekitiqe, and Ismael Garvey would form the attacking line.
France’s Paris Saint-Germain also reported on Lee’s return to training, predicting that he could be in line for a start against Jeonbuk, while Spain’s Marca also noted the possibility of Lee starting against Jeonbuk to close out the Asian tour.
If Lee and Neymar do play together, it will be the first time they’ve paired up in a competitive match. Despite the nine-year age gap between them, Lee and Neymar have great chemistry. They are inseparable on the training field, on the bench, and when immersing themselves in Japanese culture. We can’t wait to see if the duo can continue their fantastic chemistry on the pitch.