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Lee Kang-in: 4 Things to Know About the U-20 World Cup Golden Ball Winner Linked With Real Madrid

90min logo 90min 6/16/2019 Thanoshaan Thayalan
a group of young men playing a game of football: FBL-U20-WC-UKR-KOR © JANEK SKARZYNSKI/GettyImages FBL-U20-WC-UKR-KOR

18-year-old South Korean starlet Lee Kang-in lit up this summer's U-20 World Cup as his country reached the final in Poland, and was awarded the competition's Golden Ball for the best player.

Having contributed to six goals in seven U-20 World Cup games, the Valencia youngster's stock is on a continuous rise. 

Real Madrid are rumoured to be interested after landing another of Asia brightest prospects​Takefusa Kubo

Here are four things to know about the Valencia midfielder.​

Huge Interest for His Services

a group of men playing a game of football: FBL-U20-WC-UKR-KOR © JANEK SKARZYNSKI/GettyImages FBL-U20-WC-UKR-KOR

Following his outstanding performances in both the Toulon Tournament last summer as well as the U-20 World Cup, lots of scouts have been eyeing up the rising talent.

Dutch powerhouses Ajax and PSV have recently been rumoured to be interested in Lee, while Real Madrid also seem to be a huge fan, with interest going back a couple of months. 

Valencia president Anil Murthy offered Lee a senior contract in July 2018 with an eyebrow-raising €80m release clause.

Tricky Feet


One of Lee's greatest attributes as a player is his brilliant close control and dribbling. The ability to keep the ball and work in tight spaces effectively is a prized talent, yet the South Korean has it in abundance.

His technique and dribbling allow him to be the creative hub of any team he plays in and that has not been more evident in the U-20 World Cup having laid on four assists for his side. His style of play has been likened to former Man Utd and Japanese star Shinji Kagawa.

Mr Versatility

a person in a match: Lee Kang-in © David Ramos/GettyImages Lee Kang-in

The Valencia B midfielder is often deployed as an attacking midfielder in order to get best out of his abilities and help the team use his splendid vision and creativity.

However, Lee can play on either wing as well as a deeper-lying central midfielder, making his versatility a manager's dream. 

Rise to Prominence

a man with a football ball: Kangin Lee © Quality Sport Images/GettyImages Kangin Lee

The diminutive midfielder had been progressing at an alarmingly quick rate especially in the national team, which forced the South Koreans to fast-track him into the Under-20 set-up at the tender age of 17.

Last summer, he was included in the Toulon Tournament squad for South Korea where the likes of Thierry Henry and James Rodriguez first came to global prominence. He proved his talent in an underwhelming squad that exited at the group stage, as he scored two outstanding goals against Scotland and Togo.

His superb performances were highlighted by the fact that he was included in the team of the tournament. Having played only three games as well as being three years junior to much of the competition, it shows what a remarkable talent he is.


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