“When the Super League first started in 1983, I was a ball boy at Dongdaemun Stadium. Watching the game, I set a goal to play on that stage and played soccer with a dream. I have achieved it. I think this is the most meaningful award among the awards I have received so far.” It was the echo of Ulsan Hyundai coach Hong Myung-bo (54).

Each one had a different beginning, but the end was the same color. The best of the best, recorded in history as ‘Legend’. The first ‘Hall of Fame’ in Korean professional sports history cut off the tape. The induction ceremony for the K-League Hall of Fame, which marks the 40th anniversary of professional football this year, was held on the 2nd at Seoul Ambassador Pullman Grand Ballroom.

In the player category, Suwon FC general manager Choi Soon-ho (61), head coach Hong Myung-bo, Indonesian national team coach Shin Tae-yong (53), and Lee Dong-guk (44) enjoyed the먹튀검증 honor of being inducted for the first time. They were selected as representatives of each generation for each decade. The Korea Professional Football Federation presented trophies and certificates to the first inductees. The trophy is studded with a pure gold medallion engraved with the Hall of Fame symbol, adding to the authority of the award.

The first person to go on stage was Lee Dong-guk from the ‘4th generation’. Choi Tae-wook, technical committee member of the Pro League, said, “He was the main character who led the K-League renaissance in the 1990s. At that time, whenever he raised a cross, Dongguk-hyung would appear out of nowhere and shoot.” Lee Dong-guk, who retired in 2020, the most recent among the inductees, holds the record for the most points scored, the most attack points, and the most appearances among field players in the K-League. He played in 548 games, scored 228 goals and provided -77 assists. He laughed, saying, “Thank you so much. It seems like this will be the last award I receive as a player, so I’ll talk at a long time.” The highlight was the message to his son. Lee Dong-guk smiled and said, “Maknae Xian is into soccer. I’m glad that the day has come when his dad can proudly say that he succeeded as a professional soccer player and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.” He received a bouquet full of love from his eldest daughter Jaeshi and youngest son Xian.

‘3rd generation’ Shin Tae-yong was the ‘family honor’. Two sons, Shin Jae-won (Seongnam) and Shin Jae-hyeok (Ansan), who grew up as K-leagues, opened the door. The two sang in chorus, “It was only after stepping on the professional stage that I felt the greatness of the path my father had trodden on.” Shin Tae-yong, the “fox of the ground,” won three league titles twice in a row as Seongnam’s “one-club man.” He also won the Rookie of the Year award and MVP twice. He said, “I’m happy to congratulate my two sons as inductees. I stand here by making my name more prominent in the K-League than in the national team. I hope my juniors feel more pride in the K-League. I’m also serving as a K-League evangelist in Indonesia.”

‘Second Generation’ Hong Myung-bo is an existence that needs no further explanation. Heo Jeong-moo, who was a teacher in Pohang and the chairman of Daejeon Hana Citizen, said, “It is absurd to mention Hong Myung-bo. I liked Beckenbauer. In Korea, Hong is the most similar. His ability to lead the crowd was excellent,” he said with a thumbs up. Hong Myung-bo, who won the league championship, best 11, and MVP from the first season of the K-League, added, “I want to share the joy of winning with the Ulsan players who are still training and the fans who support me every week.”

Lee Hoi-taek, president of the OB Soccer Club, praised Choi Soon-ho, the eldest brother of the ‘1st generation’, as “an undisputed striker who wants to come out once in a century in our soccer history.” Choi Soon-ho responded, “I vividly remember 40 years ago. These days, the K-League seems to have hit a new boom. In a heartbreaking moment, I think of all of my seniors, colleagues, and juniors who played together at the time, in vague memories.” After receiving his grandson’s bouquet, he smiled and enjoyed the dreamlike time.

The ‘K-League Hall of Fame’ consists of three categories: ‘STARS’, ‘LEADERS’, and ‘HONORS’. The Pro League plans to continue selecting inductees for the Hall of Fame every two years, starting this year.

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