INCHEON (Yonhap News) ― Hong Jeong-ho, the latest South Korean footballer to join the Bundesliga in Germany, said Wednesday he will try to enjoy himself while on his new journey.
Hong, a 24-year-old defensive back, inked a four-year deal with FC Augsburg in the top German competition earlier this month.
He joins Son Heung-min of Bayer Leverkusen, Koo Ja-cheol of VfL Wolfsburg and Park Joo-ho of Mainz 05 in the Korean contingent in the Bundesliga.
Koo played for FC Augsburg last season on loan. Another South Korean, forward Ji Dong-won, also spent the last season with FC Augsburg on loan from Sunderland in the English Premier League.
|Hong Jeong-ho speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)|
The two helped the team avoid relegation to the second division. Before departing for Germany at Incheon International Airport, Hong told reporters that he knows he has a tough act to follow.
“Dong-won and Ja-cheol played well for the team, so I think there’s some pressure on me,” Hong said. “I will try to shake that off and do my best.”
Incidentally, Hong spent three months in Augsburg last year to rehabilitate his injured knee.
“I was limping my way to Augsburg a year ago,” Hong said of the injury that kept him off the South Korean team for the London Olympics.
“After I went through a difficult rehab, something good has happened.”
Hong, listed at 186 centimeters and 77 kilograms, is a rising star on defense for South Korea, a physical player with good passing skills.
The former Jeju United player in the domestic K League Classic has starred for U20 and U23 national teams, and has recently established himself as a regular center-back on the senior team.
Hong, as the first center-back from South Korea to reach the Bundesliga, said he wants to blaze a trail for more South Koreans.
“I hope to do well and show people that there are lots of good defenders in South Korea,” Hong said.
“I think that will help open doors for our players to join European clubs.”