Professional soccer FC Seoul is sweating ahead of the opening on the 15th, Goku, Kirishima, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan sub-stadium. It was Ilyuchenko (33), a foreigner with white skin and blue eyes, who led the atmosphere, sometimes with a sense of humor and sometimes with strong messages. On this day, he wore training clothes and did not wear the captain’s armband, but the dignity of the leader was conveyed intact. Seoul coach Ahn Ik-soo looked at Ilyuchenko and said, “This is my first training as captain, and he is doing well.”
Ilyuchenko, a goal scorer who entered the 5th year of the K-League, said, “It’s like a surprise to me.” Having lived in Korea for about three and a half years, Ilyuchenko showed confidence, saying, “Language differences according to nationalities are not a problem because most people can communicate in English.”
In the past, there was a strong belief that the ‘captain’, which serves as a bridge between the coaching staff and the players, was the role of a domestic player. But now times have changed. The appointment of a foreign captain could be a point to read the changes in the K-League this year. The limit on holding foreign players, which is said to influence one season’s performance, has increased from ‘3 + 1’ (3 people regardless of nationality + 1 person from an AFC member country) to ‘5 + 1’. It is an unavoidable trend as foreign players account for up to 6 out of 18 players participating in a game. In the 2023 season, Daegu FC Sejingya, who has been captain for two consecutive years, and two foreign ‘captains’, including Ilyuchenko, will play on the ground. In terms of Seoul alone, it is second only to Osmar in 2016.
Ilyuchenko, who played in the second division of the German Bundesliga, jumped into the K-League in 2019 when he joined Pohang Steelers. Even after playing for half a year in Pohang in the first year, he received a passing score with 9 goals and 2 assists, and the following year, he was recognized as the best striker in the league with an amazing scoring power of 19 goals and 6 assists. After passing through Jeonbuk Hyundai, he wore a Seoul uniform last summer. It is also unusual that a foreign player wore the armband as the captain of Seoul, a ‘traditional house’ full of star players, for the first time in half a year. 온라인바카라
This is because his outstanding skills, strong fighting spirit, and leadership were highly regarded within his team. Ilyuchenko said, “I have lived in Korea for a long time, but there are still difficulties in the cultural area. There are many experienced players in Seoul, so I try to communicate and get help.”
The changes in Seoul that Ilyuchenko will make are also attracting attention. Seoul lifted the league championship in the 2016 season, when Osmar was active as a foreign captain. Seoul was a ‘prestigious’ representative of the K-League, but in the last three seasons, fighting in the relegation zone, stayed in the Final B (7th to 12th) group, hurting its pride. Ilyuchenko promised a ‘restoration’ season.
He said, “Just as (Osmar) had good results, I expect good results too.” He did not hide his greed, saying, “I want to entertain the fans from the opening day.”