Kubo declared war on Lee Kang-in, “If Japan wins the final, it will yield in the first round of 16.”

According to Japanese media Soccer Digest on the 12th, Kubo said he contacted Lee Kang-in at a meeting with Japanese reporters. “There is a story that Korea will play in the Asian Cup final and then his team will play after that,” Kubo said. “If we win the Asian Cup final, we can give him a draw in the first leg of the round of 16.” When asked about the contents of the conversation with Lee Kang-in, he said, “We talked about meeting each other, but not only the Japanese national team but also the Korean national team will have no day off,” adding, “I hope we can meet in the final.”

Lee Kang-in and Kubo will play for the South Korean and Japanese national teams at the Asian Cup, respectively. South Korea and Japan are drawing attention as the strongest contenders at the upcoming event. The prevailing view is that the two countries, which cannot meet until the final, will make it to the final according to the match schedule. As Kubo said, after the event, they will return to their teams and face off again on the UEFA Champions League stage.

Paris Saint-Germain, where Lee Kang-in belongs, and Real Sociedad, where Kubo plays, were decided as opponents last month. Paris Saint-Germain was second in Group F (Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Newcastle United), and Real Sociedad qualified for the round of 16 as first in Group D (Inter Milan, Benfica, RB Salzburg). Lee Kang-in and Kubo, who were born in 2001, were considered soccer prodigies in Korea and Japan as children and studied soccer in Spain side by side. 스포츠토토

Valencia confirmed the talent of Lee Kang-in who was in Korea in 2011 and offered a contract. Lee, who steadily built his skills in the Valencia Youth Team, which is considered to be top-notch in Spain, was promoted to Valencia B in December 2017 and made his senior debut against Deportivo Aragon on December 21.

Kubo’s behavior is similar to that of Lee Kang-in, but different from that of Lee Kang-in. Kubo joined the Tokyo Verdi Youth Team in Japan when he was in the second grade of elementary school, but he caught the eye at the Barcelona FC training camp in Japan and joined the Barcelona Youth Team in 2011. However, as Barcelona was disciplined by FIFA in 2015 for violating the ban on transferring players under the age of 18, Kubo returned to Japan and joined the FC Tokyo Youth Team.

In November 2017, a month before Lee Kang-in was promoted to Valencia B, Kubo signed a professional contract with FC Tokyo. He moved to Yokohama F Marinos in 2018, returned to FC Tokyo on loan in 2019, and returned to the Spanish stage in June 2019 when he joined Real Madrid, which had seen its potential. In 2019, he was loaned to Mallorca from Real Madrid and formed a relationship with the island of Mallorca.

The two players joined Majorca in August 2021 and moved to play together. Lee Kang-in was released as a free agent from Valencia and then joined Majorca, while Kubo was loaned to Real Madrid. In the 2021-22 season, Lee played in 34 matches (one goal) and Kubo scored 92 goals in 31 matches. Mallorca was the team of opportunities for the two players.

However, the 2021-22 season was the first and last season for the two players together. Ahead of the 2022-23 season, Lee Kang-in remained in Majorca, while Kubo left Real Madrid for Real Sociedad, making him a different team.

Lee Kang-in became a key player in Mallorca, where Kubo left, and scored six goals in 39 games last season. As soon as Kubo transferred to Real Sociedad, his potential was in full bloom, and he emerged as a representative player of the Primera Liga with nine goals in 44 games. Like Kubo, who joined a larger team based on Mallorca, Lee Kang-in left the Primera Liga and entered French giant Paris Saint-Germain this time. Lee Kang-in has secured a steady playing time in Paris Saint-Germain, where stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Usman Dembele are concentrated. Recently, he scored the first winning goal in Toulouse and the French Super Cup, leading his team to victory and being named the Most Valuable Player of the Match.

Lee Kang-in said of Kubo in an interview after he advanced to the round of 16 after playing against Portugal, “I am very close and close friends. He is sensitive, but he helped me a lot. I just hope Kubo does well. I contacted Gubo in the morning after seeing the result, and he said Korea beat Portugal and see you in the quarterfinals.” When Lee Kang-in joined Paris Saint-Germain, Kubo commented, “Congratulations!” with an emoji of applause on the official Paris Saint-Germain channel.

They also celebrate their birthdays. On Lee Kang-in’s birthday on February 19, Kubo left a congratulatory message with a photo of him and Lee Kang-in on social media, and on June 4, Lee Kang-in wrote in Spanish, “Happy birthday, my friend.” When asked in September last year who his best friend in soccer was, Kubo replied, “Lee Kang-in.” Kubo said, “I contacted Lee Kang-in 10 minutes before the interview. Lee Kang-in and I wanted to play on the same team again this season.

Lee Kang-in stayed in Mallorca, but in my opinion, he fits better with Real Sociedad’s soccer style. We look a lot alike, but there are also differences. Lee Kang-in has a really good kicking ability and is very competitive. And personally, he is 10 out of 10. We really suited each other. Lee Kang-in personally is more of a Spaniard than a Korean,” he said.

As soon as the next round of 16 UEFA Champions League matches were decided, they showed off their best chemistry on social media as if they had promised. First, Kubo tagged Lee Kang-in by posting the match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Sociedad on social media, and Lee responded in the same way. Korea will try to win the title for the first time in 64 years after the 1960 event. It belongs to Group E along with Jordan, Bahrain, and Malaysia. Japan will compete in Group D with Iraq, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The Asian Cup will open in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday, and Korea will play its first group match against Bahrain on Saturday.

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