South Korea has a long history with the country. Countless national team players have played in the Saudi Professional League (SPL).
From Seol Ki-hyun (head coach of Gyeongnam FC) to Kim Seung-kyu (Al Shabab) and Jung Woo-young (Khaleej FC). The SPL is a league where many of Korea’s top players have played. In 2009, Seol Ki-hyun left Fulham in England to join Al Hilal on a short-term loan. In less than six months, he played 20 games for Al Hilal, becoming their main striker.
After seeing his talent firsthand, SPL teams began to express interest in the South Korean. Lee Ik-Soo and Lee Young-Pyo, who were part of the 2002 Korea-South Korea World Cup squad, headed to Al Hilal and Al Nasr respectively in 2009. Lee Young-Pyo’s excellence as Al Hilal’s main flanker led to a move to Borussia Dortmund in Germany. Song Jong-guk spent a year with Al Shabab in 2010, playing in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) quarterfinals.
Al Hilal, in particular, have benefited from utilizing South Koreans as key players. Kwak Tae-hwi, who played as a starting center back from 2014 to 2016, led the team to the 2014 ACL final, earning a spot in the tournament’s best 11. Jang Hyun-soo joined the team in 2019 and played until 2023. The team won a treble in the 2019-20 season and tasted back-to-back ACL titles in 2020-21.
The league is still home to several South Korean national team players. Kim Seung-gyu has been Al Shabab’s starting goalkeeper since 2022. The Saudi Arabian powerhouse finished fourth in the 2022-23 season. In July, he faced off against Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr).카지노
Chung, 33, a regular defensive midfielder under Paulo Bento, has left Qatar’s Al Sadd to play for Saudi Arabia’s Khaleej from the 2023-24 season.
The SPL is just around the corner. Deep-pocketed SPL clubs are gearing up for the 2023-24 season with a host of European superstars. Al Ahli and Al Hajj will face off in the first round on December 12 at 3pm ET.
Al Ahly made waves in the summer transfer window, signing Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), and Alain Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United). Modou Barrow, who starred for Jeonbuk Hyundai, is also heading to Al Ahli to play alongside some of the best players in European soccer.