The year 2023 was Lee’s year, as he scored six goals and provided six assists in 36 Spanish Primera Liga games (33 starts) for Real Mallorca in the 2022-2023 season. In the summer transfer window, he received offers from Atletico Madrid (Spain), Manchester United, and Aston Villa (England). He donned the PSG shirt amidst intense interest. Expectations were high. Because of his style of play, he was seen as the talent to fill the void left by Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), who moved to the United States.

The year 2023 was Lee’s year, as he scored six goals and provided six assists in 36 Spanish Primera Liga games (33 starts) for Real Mallorca in the 2022-2023 season. In the summer transfer window, he received offers from Atletico Madrid (Spain), Manchester United, and Aston Villa (England). He donned the PSG shirt amidst intense interest. Expectations were high. Because of his style of play, he was seen as the talent to fill the void left by Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), who moved to the United States.

Injuries slowed him down. Lee was injured in the first practice match of the off-season. He didn’t take the field once during the Asia Tour in Japan. He made his return in a friendly against Jeonbuk Hyundai in Busan, but re-injured himself in the second match of the opening season of the 2023-2024 French Ligue 1, and was forced to rehabilitate. There was a lot of concern for him. Lee Kang-in bounced back.

Lee played his first full game of the season on October 22 at home against Strasbourg, and he pumped his fist in the air four days later when he opened the scoring in the European Champions League (UCL) against AC Milan. It was his debut goal for PSG and his first goal in the UCL. The momentum was on. Lee scored in back-to-back league games against Brest and Montpellier. PSG were delighted with his performance. He even wore the club’s first Korean jersey in the away match against Le Havre on March 3. Lee ended 2023 on a high note, scoring an attacking point in the final match of the year. Lee has two goals and two assists for PSG, including one goal and two assists in the league and one goal in the UCL.

Lee Kang-in’s contributions were not limited to his team: he also flew under the flag. Lee has been the “core” of the Jürgen Klinsmann ship since it set sail in February. He played in all eight matches, except for the A match in September when he had to withdraw due to injury. He came on as a substitute in the Klinsmann’s first match against Colombia on March 24 and started all seven matches.

As he gained experience, his talent exploded, and he scored his debut A-match goal in a friendly against Tunisia on October 13. Riding the wave, Lee scored four consecutive offensive points against Vietnam (Oct. 17), Singapore (Nov. 16), and China (Nov. 21). He recorded four goals and three assists in those four games.

Lee also played as an ace for the age-group national team. He led the team to a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games. He anchored the team with his dominating presence. South Korean soccer won its third consecutive Asian Games title.

After a stellar 2023, Lee will have his hands full in 2024, as he is set to play in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, which kicks off next month in Qatar. South Korea hasn’t finished on top since 1956 and 1960. Klinsmann and his players are aiming for a first title in 64 years. The squad includes Lee Kang-in, Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) and Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), all of whom are considered “the strongest ever.

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