Lee Kang-in will compete in the Asian Games only if Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) gives him permission.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) held a press conference on Thursday afternoon at the Football Hall on Sinmun-ro to announce the list of athletes who will compete at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
A total of 22 players will compete in the Asian Games. Park Jae-yong (FC Anyang) and Ahn Jae-joon (Bucheon FC) were selected for the forward positions. In the midfield, Jung Ho-yeon (Gwangju FC), Hong Hyun-seok (KAA Gent), Baek Seung-ho, Song Min-gyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), Ko Young-joon (Pohang Steelers), Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai), Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon Commerce), and Lee Kang-in (PSG) were named. On defense, Seol Young-woo (Ulsan), Park Kyu-hyun (Dynamo Dresden), Lee Jae-ik (Seoul Eland FC), Lee Han-beom (FC Seoul), Park Jin-seop (Jeonbuk), Lee Sang-min (Seongnam FC), Hwang Jae-won (Daegu FC), and Choi Jun (Busan I-Park) were selected. The goalkeepers are Lee Kwang-yeon (Gangwon FC), Min Sung-joon (Incheon United), and Kim Jung-hoon (Jeonbuk).
All eyes were on Lee Kang-in, who recently made headlines with his move to French Ligue 1 giant PSG. After playing an ace role for Mallorca last season and playing a key role in the team’s retention and mid-table finish, Lee joined PSG in the summer transfer window. Of all the players on the roster for the Asian Games, Lee has the best name value for his club.
Already classified as a key resource for the A team, Lee has yet to fulfill his military obligations. If he wins a gold medal at the Asian Games, he will be transferred to the Arts and Sports Service under the Military Service Act and will have to undergo a month of training to fulfill his military service obligation. This was the case for Son Heung-min, who won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Jakarta, and last month, Kim Min-jae entered the country for basic military training and was recently discharged after completing his training. Lee aims to follow in the footsteps of his seniors. 안전놀이터
However, it is not yet clear if Lee will be able to accompany his teammates to the Asian Games. First of all, the Asian Games are not organized by FIFA, so there is no mandatory call-up rule for players. They can literally opt out. At the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Son Heung-min’s team, Leverkusen, refused to send him to the Asian Games, and he was unable to participate.
The question is whether PSG will allow Lee to leave the club. September, the month of the Asian Games, is the beginning of the European soccer season. For Lee, it’s a time to get acclimatized to his new team, and for PSG, it’s a time to get to know him on the field. If he’s not with the team during this time, it could affect his competition for a starting spot.
In a press conference, Hwang Sun-hong said that the club is in talks with PSG about whether or not Lee should be released. Also, according to Hwang, Lee Kang-jin is very keen to play in the Asian Games. In the end, Lee’s chances of winning a gold medal at the Asian Games will depend on PSG’s decision.