For Lee Chung-Yong (35-Ulsan), a ‘veteran midfielder’ in the English Premier League (EPL), age is still just a number.
Lee started as a central midfielder in the 35th round home match of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 Final A against Daegu FC at Munsusu Stadium in Ulsan on Sept. 29 and played 85 minutes until he was replaced by Lee Kyu-sung in the 40th minute of the second half.
Ulsan secured a 2-0 victory thanks to back-to-back goals from Kim Min-hyuk and Jang Si-young in the final minutes of the match to clinch the K League 1 title regardless of the outcome of the remaining three matches this season.
It was Ulsan’s second straight K League 1 title and fourth overall.
Former European star Lee Chung-yong chose to don the Ulsan jersey in March 2020, returning to the K League after 11 years away from Bochum (Germany).
The veteran has served as Ulsan’s moral support, and last year, he was named the K League MVP 16 years after his debut as Ulsan clinched its first title in 17 years in the K League 1.
This season, Lee has continued to play his role as a key resource for the team, fulfilling his role and finally tasting the joy of a second consecutive K League 1 title.
Coincidentally, Lee Geun-ho (38), who announced his retirement this season, started for Daegu.
It was a rare sight to see two veteran players in their mid-30s.
“I’m very emotional to have won back-to-back titles,” Lee said after the game, adding, “I’m glad we were able to clinch the title early.”
When asked what it was like to win back-to-back titles as a veteran, Lee said, “There were some bad times in the middle of the season, but I told my teammates, ‘Let’s believe that we can do well,'” and reflected that “that belief helped me as I continued to play.”
When asked about his approaching retirement, Lee smiled and said, “I haven’t really thought about the future yet, but suddenly I’m thinking about my age.”
“In the past, many people retired at my age,” he said, “but I’m still in good shape for my age. I’m not thinking about what I’m going to do next year or the year after,” he said.
He emphasized, “I was only thinking about winning this season, and I’m glad I was able to achieve that result.” 파워볼분석