‘The Disappearing Genius’ CNN Tracked North Korea’s ‘People’s Ronaldo’ Han Kwang-seong

In 2017, the first North Korean player to score in the Italian soccer league Serie A, and the whereabouts of Han Kwang-seong, the “sacred star of North Korean soccer,” who was expected to play an active role, are mysterious.

On the 28th of last month (local time), CNN of the United States highlighted Han Kwang-seong, a North Korean soccer player who has not been officially active since August 2020. In the title of ‘The Mystery Surrounding Han Kwang-seong in North Korea’, it deals with the actions of Han Kwang-seong, who was called ‘People’s Ronaldo’ from the moment he appeared on the world football stage until his traces disappeared.

Promoted to Italian division 1 in one month… Han Kwang-sung’s football life full of ups and downs
It is known that Han Kwang-seong learned soccer in Spain when North Korea began to send soccer studies to Europe in earnest.

Han Kwang-seong, who stood out by participating in the 2014 AFC U-16 Asian Cup and the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, officially joined the youth team of Serie A, the first division of Italian professional football, in 2017.

In 2017, at the age of 18, Han Kwang-seong was promoted to the first division team within a month, becoming the first North Korean player to score in Serie A within a week of being named in the first division.

Afterwards, he moved to Juventus FC, a prestigious Italian club, in 2019 after renting Perugia in the second division Serie B. At the time, the transfer fee paid by Juventus to Cagliari was known to be about 5 million euros (about 7.2297 billion won).

However, he could not stay at Juventus for less than six months, and Han Kwang-seong moved to Alduhail SC of the Qatar Stars League, a professional soccer league in Qatar.

In August 2020, Han Kwang-seong, who appeared in the last game of the season between Alduhail and Al-Ahli in the Qatar Stars League, held a trophy commemorating the championship at the time with his teammates.

Promising soccer player Han Kwang-sung caught the ankle of ‘North Korea sanctions’
Every time Han Kwang-seong moved, the United Nations Security Council (UN Security Council) resolution on North Korea sanctions held him back. Concerns continued to arise that the money being paid to him going into North Korea would be in violation of UN Security Council sanctions resolutions.

In fact, according to the interim report of the expert panel of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea released in 2020, Han Kwang-seong received 520,000 euros (approximately 741.48 million won) from Juventus from 2018 to January 2020.

Based on a five-year contract worth a total of 4.31 million euros (approximately 6.1458 billion won) with Alduhail, 270,000 euros (approximately 385 million won) were paid from February 2020 to April 2020.

It is known that Han Kwang-seong was expelled from Qatar according to UN Security Council Resolution 2397 adopted in 2017 and entered into force in December 2019. It contained the contents of UN member states to expel North Korean workers from their countries. In addition to Han Kwang-seong, the resolution pointed out North Korean soccer players who were active abroad at the time, such as Park Kwang-ryong and Choi Seong-hyeok, as targets for repatriation.

A UN Security Council report said in January 2021 that he boarded a plane from Doha, Qatar, to Rome, Italy.

‘Han Kwang-seong’ remembered by teammates and coaches who ran together

Currently, Han Kwang-seong’s whereabouts are unclear.

CNN speculated that Han Kwang-seong may have stayed at one of the North Korean embassies abroad, considering that the border with North Korea has been closed for a long time due to Corona 19 and North Korean embassies abroad are accepting North Koreans who have not returned home.

Former coach of the North Korean national football team, Jern Andersen, commented, “It is quite regrettable that Han Kwang-seong had to give up football. He had great talent.”

Max Kanji, coach of the Italian youth team in Cagliari, where he worked, recalled, “I remember saying that not long after I saw Han Kwang-seong training, he was very good and should be sent to the first division.”

He said, “Han Kwang-seong was excellent in speed, judgment, and ability to handle the ball. His talent was innate.” Kanji added, “If he hadn’t left, he would have been in good form and would have received a good salary. If he returns, it may be difficult to improve his performance, but it is not impossible.”

Nicholas Pennington, Han Kwang-sung’s youth teammate, commented, “He was a really good player. He adapted well and got along well with people.”토토사이트 순위

“When I asked a question related to North Korea, the conversation ended because I was very cautious. I always had a person I called ‘Guardian’ with me,” said Pennington, recalling Han Kwang-seong. “It’s a pity that his football career ended for political reasons.”

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