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Who is Hwang Hee-chan? What to know about the South Korean superstar

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The 2019/20 Red Bull Salzburg squad was one of the most exciting teams in recent memory. It gave players like Erling Haaland and Dominik Szoboszlai a platform to impress on, but the one that flew a little under the radar was South Korean forward Hwang Hee-chan.

Hwang moved to RB Leipzig in the summer of 2020, but he is already being courted by a handful of teams across Europe, with West Ham United being the latest team to express interest.

Here, 90 mins profile a player still little known to the vast majority.

Hee-chan hwang
Hwang causes trouble for defenders | TF-Images / Getty Images

Hwang’s aggressive playstyle has earned him the nickname “The Bull” or “The Angry Bull”, largely because he enjoys charging defenders and terrifying them.

It’s a style of play that has drawn comparisons with Luis Suarez, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney – those players who like to do more than a little physics with their opponents.

Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann stressed in an interview (via bundesliga.com): “You just have to look at his thighs – that’s a real grip for opposition supporters. He can run against the opposition, play with his back to goal and create opportunities. . “

Roberto Firminho
Hwang has been compared to Firmino | Pool / Getty Images

One thing that stands out when watching Hwang’s game is his intelligence.

With the kind of vision most players can only dream of, Hwang knows how to position his body and where he should stand on the pitch, and his love for exploiting space has earned him comparisons to Roberto Firmino. from Liverpool.

He’s not afraid to sacrifice himself in the hope of helping a teammate, and you’ll regularly see him pulling defenders out of position to clear the way for another attacker.

As was the case with many Red Bull Salzburg players, meeting Liverpool in October 2019 was a breakout moment for Hwang, who ended the 4-3 loss with a goal and an assist.

His goal has earned Hwang an online cult following, as it involved him toppling Virgil van Dijk – something most players fail to do.

He told Goal: “I knew Van Dijk was great, but I didn’t have the ‘I have to get away from him’ or ‘How do I beat him’ mentality? ”In Liverpool. It was important to win. It was great, glorious to beat such a player. “

Jurgen klopp
Klopp was impressed with Hwang | Pool / Getty Images

True to this Liverpool game, Hwang’s performance did not go unnoticed by Jurgen Klopp.

While the Liverpool boss ultimately chose to sign Takumi Minamino from Salzburg instead, Hwang revealed that Klopp looked after him after the game to call him “a machine”.

Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez
Hwang turned to Neymar & Suarez for help | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce / Getty Images

Towards the start of his stay in Europe, Hwang’s finish was often described as a major problem in his game. During a loan spell with Hamburn in 2018/19, he was described as “weak and crubby” – though poor it was actually funny.

He confessed to JoongAng Ilbo that he was devastated by these comments and turned to images of Luis Suarez and Neymar (two players he regularly brings up) to help him understand it.

Hwang went on to score 16 goals in 2019/20, ending the season with one of the highest shooting accuracy percentages in Europe. Good work.

Ji-Sung Park
Hwang was watching Park | Steve Dykes / Getty Images

Manchester United legend Park Ji-sung is the benchmark every South Korean player is measured against, and Hwang credits the former winger for helping him fall in love with the game.

In an interview with Bild, Hwang was asked if he would ever consider moving to the Premier League, and the forward’s name let Park down as the reason he fell in love with English football.

He hopes to follow in Park’s footsteps and one day make it to the Premier League, and there is no shortage of suitors for his signing.

Hee-chan hwang
FIFA 21 players fell in love with Hwang | TF-Images / Getty Images

At the start of FIFA 21, you couldn’t play more than two or three matches without facing an opponent with Hwang on their team.

He’s only 77 in total, but with 93 pace, 79 dribbling, and 75 shooting, and when used correctly, Hwang has ended up terrorizing players around the world.

Hwang received an Ones to Watch card via Squad Building Challenge early in the game, and a single upgrade could end the world as we know it.

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