Kim Min-jae’s trip to Munich

When Kim Min-jae 김민재 (27, Bayern Munich) left Napoli after a year, some fans expressed their disappointment. However, an Italian media outlet argued that no one can criticize the player.

Kim officially donned the Bayern Munich jersey on July 19 (KST). After signing a five-year contract through June 2028, Kim will wear the number 3 in Munich after Napoli.

The loss of Kim Min-jae after just one year is bittersweet for Napoli. After being a key part of the Napoli defense that led them to their first Serie A title in 33 years, it was disappointing to see him leave after just one season.

Most fans were sad to see him go, but wished him well for the future. However, some fans accused Kim of using Napoli as a stepping stone to a big club.

However, Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport shed light on the reality of Napoli on the 20th, saying, “No one dares to blame Kim Min-jae for leaving,” and claiming, “A year ago, Kim Min-jae was just a pack of cigarettes to mock president Aurelio De Laurentiis.”

In reality, Kim Min-jae did not receive much attention when he joined Napoli. When Kim joined Napoli last July, fans and pundits alike seemed to dismiss him as an unknown quantity.

While Kim is now a household name, at the time of his arrival, it was like a cigarette brand: “Kim, 10 euros for three packs (about $14,000),” they mocked. It was a criticism of selling Kalidou Koulibaly and bringing in the unknown Kim Min-jae.

“In a year, everything has changed,” the outlet said, adding that “a year ago, De Laurentiis had to stay in a hotel in Dimaro for safety reasons” and that “now he is being praised and has the full trust of the transfer market. It’s the power of the ball rolling.”

With so many key players leaving the club, Napoli were expected to struggle to compete in the Champions League, let alone win the title. But as the season began, Napoli dominated Serie A in a dominant fashion.

The defense was solidified by the arrival of Kim Min-jae, a bargain-basement replacement for Koulibaly, at the center of the defense. Luciano Spalletti’s attacking tactics of “shut up and attack” paid off. Kim was recognized as Serie A’s best defender.

His departure from Napoli was also a huge money maker. The €50 million ($71.2 billion) buyout clause that Munich paid for Kim was the fourth-largest sale in Napoli’s history. This gives Napoli the luxury of reinforcements in the transfer market.

Kim’s elevated status is further demonstrated by his move to Munich. The Bavarians took the unusual step of sending a medical team to South Korea for a medical.

On the first day of his visit, the club gave him a pair of lederhosen (traditional leather pants from the German state of Bavaria, where Bayern Munich is based) with the initials “KMJ” on them. Of all the players Munich signed this summer, Kim was the only one to receive a lederhosen.

As soon as Thomas Tuchel saw him, he welcomed him with a fierce hug. It was a public confirmation that Kim was the defender he wanted. His salary, which was 2.5 million euros (about 3.6 billion won) at Napoli, skyrocketed to 12 million euros (about 17.1 billion won) at Munich.

Meanwhile, Kim will appear at the “Allianz FC Bayern Team Presentation 2023-2024” event at the Allianz Arena at 1 p.m. local time on March 23.

Kim will now embark on an Asian tour with Bayern Munich that will take him to Japan and Singapore. On July 26, the team will play its first practice match against Manchester City in Tokyo, Japan, followed by a match against Kawasaki F.Frontale (Japan) on July 29. On August 2, the team will travel to Singapore to face Liverpool (England). 토토

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