Iron Pillar’ Kim Min-jae ranked 22nd in the Ballon d’Or → surpassed Dias-Gvardiol and became 1st among all ‘CBs’!


The best center back in 2023 was Kim Min-jae.

Ballon d’Or announced the Ballon d’Or rankings through its official SNS on the 31st (Korean time). The rankings were revealed one by one, starting from 30th place, and Martin Odegaard, Randal Kolo Muani, and Nicolo Barella were mentioned in that order.토스카지노

‘Korean Monster’ Kim Min-jae ranked 22nd overall. This was ranked first among all center backs, higher than Ruben Dias and Joszko Gvardiol.

Kim Min-jae is the core of South Korea’s defense. He is a solid 190cm tall, shows stable defensive ability, and even has build-up ability, which is an essential ability for modern center backs. Although his right foot is his main foot, he often uses his left foot as well, and in times of emergency, he can participate in attacks through active dribbling, giving him a wide range of tactical uses.

He showed rapid growth. After playing for Gyeongju KHNP, he joined Jeonbuk Hyundai in 2017. In his first year of debut, he showed outstanding performance, including leading Jeonbuk to the league championship, and was selected as the K League 1 Young Player Award and Best 11.

Kim Min-jae conquered the domestic stage. He also attracted European attention. However, his next destination was China. Domestic fans were concerned about Kim Min-jae, who transferred to Beijing Guoan in January 2019, but this turned out to be unfounded. Kim Min-jae maintained consistent performance even in the Chinese league, and interest from European clubs continued.

Minjae Kim, who conquered the Asian stage, advanced to the European stage in August 2021. His destination is Fenerbahce of the Turkiye League. Although it wasn’t a big league, it was a good enough team to use as his first experience in Europe. Kim Min-jae led the team by working with Attiller Seol-roi, and the interest of European teams in him increased further.

Kim Min-jae has proven his worth just one year after entering the European league. He succeeded in entering the big leagues right away. The destination is Naples, a prestigious city in Italy’s Serie A. Domestic fans could not contain their excitement at the news of a Korean player advancing to Italy’s Serie A, famous for its ‘defensive power’.

Of course, I also had concerns. Not only was it his first time in the big league, but the player Kim Min-jae had to replace was Napoli’s ‘living legend’ Kalidou Koulibaly. Local fans in Naples also did not have expectations that an Asian player from Fenerbahce would replace Koulibaly, who was considered the world’s best center back.

However, Minjae Kim proved his worth with his skills. Kim Min-jae, who formed a solid center back duo with Amir Rahmani, became the core of Napoli. Thanks to Kim Min-jae’s performance, Napoli lifted the Scudetto for the first time in 33 years since the 1989-90 season, and Kim Min-jae was selected as the best defender in Italian Serie A after the season.

In that way, Kim Min-jae became the target of many big clubs. Many clubs looking to strengthen their center backs pursued his recruitment. Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Newcastle United, and Manchester City were mentioned as candidates. Of these, Manchester United was the most active. Manchester United, which did not have resources other than Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, sought to strengthen its squad to handle the tighter schedule for the 2023-24 season. Coach Eric ten Haag wanted to recruit Kim Min-jae and even considered selling Harry Maguire to raise funds for him.

But negotiations were sluggish. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich emerged as a leading candidate. The news was quickly updated as reporter Florian Plettenberg of Germany’s Sky Sports, who is well-versed in Munich news, began covering the transfer rumor. Things went smoothly. Munich flew to Korea and conducted a medical test for Kim Min-jae, who was in poor condition after completing basic military training.

The buyout payment was finalized, and the official came out soon after. Kim Min-jae officially became a Munich player. Although he joined late due to basic military training, Minjae Kim quickly blended into the team. He had his first meeting with his Munich teammates at his first training session and they exchanged warm greetings. Munich posted Kim Min-jae’s personal training video on its official SNS, and players approached Kim Min-jae riding a bicycle and said hello. He smiled and said hello to ‘Wolkeul’ midfielder Joshua Kimmich, as well as Dayot Upamecano, who will be Kim Min-jae’s partner and competitor in the new season.

Coach Thomas Tuchel also welcomed Kim Min-jae with socks. According to Munich’s official SNS, coach Tuchel ran to Kim Min-jae and gave him a warm welcome by giving him a strong hug and stroking his cheek. He listed positive words for Kim Min-jae in the same spirit as his father, including “You will do very well here,” “I’m really happy you came here,” and “You’ll like life in Munich, I promise.”

Afterwards, Kim Min-jae became Munich’s starting center back. He has been a regular starter since the league opening game and is leading Munich’s defense. Kim Min-jae became the center of Munich’s defense and build-up. He was criticized by German legend Lothar Matheus, but has since fully proven his worth in his matches.

He also achieved a record in the match against Mainz. 100% pass success rate. This is a record that is hard to believe even when you see it with your own eyes. Minjae Kim succeeded in all 102 passes he attempted in this game. A player attempts more than 100 passes and succeeds in all of them. This was a record achieved in 18 months in Europe’s top five leagues. According to ‘Sofa Score’, the previous record was set in February 2022. Aymeric Laporte, who was with Manchester City at the time, completed all 110 passes.

Just by checking the names of the players included in the final list, you can see how much Kim Min-jae’s value has soared. Ballon d’Or basically gives generous points to players with ‘offensive ability’. Even with the exception of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, most Ballon d’Or winners were strikers. The most recent time a defender was selected for the Ballon d’Or was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. Afterwards, Virgil van Dijk was mentioned as the most likely candidate, but ultimately did not enjoy the honor of winning the award.

Strikers took up most of the spots on this list as well. Including Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann, Erling Haaland, etc. Of the 30 players, 15, or the majority, were strikers. If you include midfielders with offensive ability such as Kevin de Bruyne, Jamal Musiala, Martin Odegaard, and Jude Bellingham, the figure is even higher.

There are only three defenders. The main characters include Kim Min-jae, Ruben Dias, who led Manchester City’s treble, and Joshko Gvardiol, the biggest star produced by the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Dias is the star of the treble in the 2022-23 season. Gvardiol was a key player for Croatia, the third-place team at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. However, Kim Min-jae ranked higher than them and ranked first among all center backs.

He became the fourth domestic player to be named as a finalist for the Ballon d’Or. Seol Ki-hyun was included in the 50 Ballon d’Or candidates during his time at Anderlecht in 2002. At the time, he had established himself as a key player for the team by scoring 12 goals and 6 assists in 32 games in the Belgian Jupiler League and 1 goal and 1 assist in 8 games in the UEFA Cup.

Park Ji-sung was also included in the list of candidates for the 2005 Ballon d’Or. At the time, he was a member of PSV Eindhoven, and in the 2004-05 season, he scored 7 goals and 5 assists in 28 league games, and appeared in 11 games in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), leading the team to the semifinals. He even scored in the second leg of the semifinals against AC Milan, pushing AC Milan, the world’s best team at the time, to the brink.

Although both players have meaningful records, they have never received any votes. Son Heung-min was the first to receive votes, and he is the only one to have been selected as a candidate more than twice. The highest ranking in the Ballon d’Or as an Asian player is Son Heung-min’s 11th place. Kim Min-jae ranked 22nd at this awards ceremony, failing to break Son Heung-min’s record, but considering his position as a defender, it was an impressive achievement.

[2023 Ballon d’Or overall rankings]

30. Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

28. Randal Colo Muani (Frankfurt / PSG)

28. Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

27. Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)

26. Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich) )

25. Joszko Gvardiol (Leipzig / Manchester City)

24. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

23. Andre Onana (Inter Milan / Manchester United)

22. Minjae Kim (SSC Napoli / Bayern Munich)

21. Antoine Griez Mann (Atletico Madrid)

20. Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)

19. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur / Bayern Munich)

18. Jude Bellingham (Dortmund / Real Madrid)

17. Hvica Kvarachelia (SSC Napoli)

16 . Karim Benzema (Real Madrid / Al Ittihad)

15. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

14. Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City / Barcelona)

13. Yassine Bunou (Sevilla / Al Hilal)

12. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

11. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

10. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

9. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

8. Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli)

7. Julian Alvarez (Manchester City)

6. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

5. Rodri (Manchester City)

4. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

1. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain / Inter Miami)

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