A few years ago, CNN reported on the sudden disappearance of North Korea’s national soccer player Han Kwang-sung, who was called ‘People’s Ronaldo’.
CNN said in an article titled “This North Korean player surprised the soccer world and disappeared” that day, “Han Kwang-seong is the first North Korean player to score a goal in Europe’s top 5 soccer leagues. “He introduced his footsteps.
Han Kwang-sung’s advance into the world began in 2013 when then-Chairman Kim Jong-un of the National Defense Commission established the Pyongyang International Soccer School with the goal of nurturing elite soccer players according to the idea of a “sports powerhouse.”
Shortly after opening, 14 students went to Spain and 15 students went to Italy to study under the support of the North Korean government.
Among them, Han Kwang-seong, who studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, stood out and took part in the ‘Italian Soccer Management’ (ISM) camp in 2015 and took a local snow stamp.
In 2017, he officially joined Cagliari’s youth club in Seria A, Italy’s first division league.
Max Kanji, who was Cagliari’s youth coach, recalled in a CNN interview, “I remember telling my fellow coach Mario, ‘He’s very good, we have to send him (part 1)’ within 20 minutes of watching Han Kwang-seong train.” did.
Kanji said that Han Kwang-seong quickly learned Italian. His youth teammate, Nicholas Pennington, said, “He was a shy but nice guy, a really good player메이저놀이터.
However, it is said that Han Kwang-seong reacted very carefully to repeated questions about North Korea and gave almost no answers.
Pennington said, “Once, he talked about his family and said that he missed him.
In 2019, Han Kwang-seong took part in the first inter-Korean soccer match in 29 years in Pyongyang, capturing the attention of soccer fans with his fast dribbling.
His career peaked in 2020 when he transferred to Juventus, one of the prestigious Seria A clubs, in 2020 after going on loan to the Perugia club.
It was sold to the Qatar Alduhail club just a week later, but it was evaluated that his value was recognized in that a transfer fee of 4.6 million dollars (about 6.1 billion won) was paid for 5 years until the 2023-2024 season.
However, Han Kwang-seong did not play for long in Qatar.
On August 21, 2020, the 21-year-old played his final match of the season against Al-Ahli. He lifted the league championship trophy with the words ‘champion’ written on it with his teammates, then disappeared.
With this, foreign media speculated that he had returned to North Korea because he was on the North Korean sanctions list, and it became increasingly difficult for him to participate, and he could not find a new team abroad to play in the game.
According to a UN Security Council report released a few months later, on January 26, 2021, Han Kwang-sung was expelled from Qatar after his contract with Alduhail was terminated.
At the time, CNN reported that Han Kwang-seong signed a document stating, “I will not send any money to North Korea under any circumstances” while dealing with a bank in Qatar.
CNN said, “It has been confirmed that Han Kwang-seong boarded a plane to Rome from Doha, Qatar.”
According to multiple sources, it was confirmed that Han Kwang-seong had been staying in Rome for a while waiting for the resumption of flights to Pyongyang in 2021.
However, Italy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the World Football Federation (FIFA) did not respond to CNN’s inquiries regarding Han Kwang-seong’s whereabouts.
His whereabouts after that are unclear.
Jern Andersen, who was in charge of the North Korean national team coach, said, “It is regrettable that Han Kwang-seong had to give up soccer,” adding, “He had great talent.”