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Lee Chun-soo, a member of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup team, has spoken out about the controversial feud within the South Korean national soccer team and head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.

On Friday, Lee uploaded a video titled “Lee’s Thoughts on the Team Discord” to his YouTube channel, Lee Chun-soo. Recently, the national soccer team has been plagued by infighting rumors centered on the conflict between captain Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in.

The rumor of infighting between Lee Kang-in and Son Heung-min was first reported by the British daily newspaper The Sun on the 14th. The Sun reported, “A day before Son Heung-min was eliminated from the Asian Cup, he had a fight with a teammate. In the process, Son dislocated his finger. Some of the younger players ate quickly to enjoy table tennis, 텍사스홀덤 and captain Son Heung-min, who thought the meal was an opportunity for team bonding, was unhappy about it,” the report said.

In the video, Lee said, “I honestly felt bad about the rumors of discord between the older and younger players in the national team. “I played for the national team from a young age, and there were many people who called me ‘backward,'” he said. “Even when we reached the quarterfinals of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, there was a big age difference between the seniors and juniors, but there was no discord because we had one goal.

“There are a lot of speculative words, such as fighting and seriousness, but the atmosphere in the national team is disappointing in that things are coming out that shouldn’t be coming out. That’s what led to the performance, so even with the best members, there’s a sense of regret that we couldn’t achieve results.”

Lee added, “Korea is the center of the eastern arts, so seniors and juniors have a lot to do with it. Honestly, the education system has changed. People go abroad a lot from a young age. It is true that the emotional aspect is different from our time because many Korean athletes also go abroad,” but he pointed out that “there should be a discipline between seniors and juniors in Korea.”

He cited Klisman’s lack of leadership as one of the problems with the situation. “The most regrettable thing is the director. We pay 2.9 billion won to appoint a coach because he is the commander-in-chief who is responsible for everything. He has the overall performance, but he also has a role to hold the players and make them one. I didn’t even realize the players were fighting because he was trying to do something good for himself. I don’t think the coach has absolute leadership.”

“If you’re a coach, you have to be able to tell the players not to do that. If he’s always smiling and the players don’t know what’s going on, why is he coaching the national team?” he added.

“Why does the federation just neatly admit it (the feud), and why do they let it go there if they know about it? People who should be more active in something didn’t do their part and left it all to the players. The players are all in different moods, and it’s the manager’s job to catch them and unify them, or if not, to swear at them a little bit like Hiddink did, and bring them together.”

He doesn’t think this will be a one-time conflict in the national team. “There are problems with the players, but I think the biggest problem is with the coach, who is the commander-in-chief. It’s not just one crack. Since he took over, he’s just letting them do whatever they want, giving them time off, letting them ride the train alone, and I’ve never seen a national team like that before.”

He added: “That’s not ‘free’. It’s one thing to take them under your leadership and give them freedom, but it’s another thing to say, ‘Do whatever you want!’ There’s a different feeling within the players. A lot of people are getting attached to the players now, which is a sign of the coach’s lack of charisma and leadership. And I think the federation is also to blame for not being able to mediate in that area.”

Meanwhile, the Korea Football Association (KFA) announced its decision to dismiss national team coach Klinsmann at a briefing on Friday at the Jongno-gu Football Hall in Seoul, South Korea, after holding the “2024 First Power Strengthening Committee.

The committee was comprised of KFA President Michael Muller, Commissioner Jung Jae-kwon, Commissioner Park Tae-ha, Commissioner Kwak Hyo-beom, Commissioner Kim Hyun-tae, Commissioner Kim Young-geun, Commissioner Song Ju-ju, Commissioner Cho Sung-hwan, and Commissioner Choi Yoon-gyeom, with Klinsmann, who left for the United States, participating via video.

Hwang Bo-kwan, head of the KFA’s technical department, briefed reporters after the meeting was fully adjourned due to Muller’s foreign status, saying, “There was a general consensus that it was no longer possible for him to continue to provide leadership as the national team’s head coach ahead of the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup in North and Central America,” and that the decision to fire him was made.

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