Neither team wanted a boring game.
Team K League and Atletico Madrid (ATM) will play the first leg of the ‘Coupang Play Series’ at 8:00 pm on the 27th at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Team K-League is composed of players active in the K-League. Hong Myung-bo, head coach of Ulsan Hyundai, and Choi Won-kwon, head coach of Daegu FC, joined as coach. A total of 22 players, including 11 players selected as ‘Fan Eleven’ through fan voting and 11 ‘Pick Eleven’ selected by coach Hong and coach Choi, will participate in the game.
Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon Hana Citizen) and Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC), who rose to stardom by playing a big role in the 20-year-old World Cup, were chosen by fans, and Jo Hyun-woo (Ulsan) and Jeka (Pohang Steelers) joined as the ‘Pick Eleven’.
Atlético, led by coach Diego Simeone, is one of Spain’s most prestigious teams along with Barcelona and Real Madrid. It has a history of winning 11 Spanish Primera Liga titles and 10 Copa del Rey titles. There were times when it went through dark times, but after Simeone took office in the 2010s, it recovered its former reputation.
Atletico arrived at Incheon International Airport on the 25th. All key players such as French superstar Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix, Koke, and Jan Oblak joined the team, raising expectations.
It is a match with dark event colors. Team K-League is formed by selecting players from each team during the season, so it is difficult to expect organizational power. Also, during the season, you have to avoid ‘injury’ more than ever. On the other hand, Atlético are now preparing for the season. Because it is a pre-season that raises the body, the condition is not perfect.
Team K-League and Atletico are both in a situation where they cannot play a perfect game. However, the coaches of both teams expressed their will not to back down in a press conference before the game.
Coach Hong said, “First of all, I would like to thank Atletico and the K-League teams for visiting Korea. I am happy to have the opportunity to be with good players.” I want to play a passionate and impressive game for the fans.”
Director Hong continued, “Atletico is a team with clear tactical colors. Organizational skills are world-class. On the other hand, we hurriedly get together and play games, but we are not very afraid. In soccer, how you play around the ball is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what nationality this player is. We will do our best to show our image well at the meeting with the players.”
It was the same with Atletico. Director Simeone said, “Thank you for the hospitality. A lot of fans cheered us on from the airport, and it was the same at the hotel. We will do our best to repay the fans who came to the stadium.”
Captain Koke, who came together at the press conference, also said, “A lot of fans cheered me from the airport. I will do my best to repay the fans who came to the stadium. We will win from the pre-season and take it as a preparation for the full-fledged season.”
Team K-League represents Korean football, and Atlético declared that there will be no loose friendly matches in return for the fans’ hospitality.