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Kim Min-Jae: ‘My nickname sums me up’

Napoli centre-back Kim Min-Jae believes his nickname ‘The Monster’ sums him perfectly while the Maradona story in Naples is ‘amazing.’ The South Korean international spoke with The Guardian about his rapid rise and recounted is early years travelling to training in his fathers fish truck:

“The truck was really, really big, about 15 to 20 tons, It had a water tank where they could put fresh fish. I remember the day so clearly because the excitement was huge. I was only sorry that my dad then had to go to another city to drop off some fish.

“It was my first call-up to a national team, I was very young and I was a bit shy and ashamed to arrive like this. The other kids came in normal cars. But it was a very good story for me. I am close to my father and these are the kind of moments that have made me who I am.”

My height? It’s not difficult to recognise me on the street in Naples! My nickname, ‘The Monster’? I really like it, It sums up my positive attributes as a defender.

I’m looking forward to defending against Darwin Núñez in the Uruguay game. Our main goal is to pass the group stage.  The 2022 World Cup? I really loved that. You could see the desire in the players’ eyes. I was very impressed by how the right-sided defender, Song Chong-gug, played Luís Figo. Because I’m a defender that was the part I focused on.

Military service? I will be joining the army next summer, but now I’m doing some social contributions via Zoom. I give talks to young Korean footballers. I tell them how I felt at their age, how to get to where I am. I try to get my knowledge across as much as possible during a one-hour session. But most of the time it’s not enough so I do it two times for every player.

Diego? I’ve been told all about the Maradona story, how he brought the team to glory, but what amazes me is how ‘Maradona 10’ shirts are still sold at the stadium and on every street corner. The fans are still wearing them. It just shows the levels of love and respect for him.”

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