Late Yoo Sang-chul’s second anniversary, traces of ‘World Cup hero’ still evident

It’s been two weeks since South Korean soccer legend Yoo Sang-chul passed away.

Yoo passed away on June 7, 2021, at the age of 50 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was a hero of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, and continued to play a prominent role in the soccer world.

The late Yoo revealed in November 2019 that he was battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Despite being invisible, he never let go of his passion for soccer and remained at the helm of Incheon United until January 2021, leading the team to dramatic survival.

The late Yoo continued to undergo chemotherapy. Although there were a few emergencies, he completed his chemotherapy in June 2020 and his cancer shrank to the point where it was visible to the naked eye.

His health improved to the point that he was even considered to return to coaching Incheon United. However, he was informed that the cancer had metastasized to his brain, and his condition worsened.

His passing was met with tributes from all corners of the soccer world. Lee Kang-in (Marocca), Yoo’s protégé, left an emotional message saying, “Watch over me from heaven,” while another 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup hero, Gus Hiddink, expressed his sadness, saying, “He was a true hero to Korea and to me.”

“Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero,” said FIFA, while the Korea Football Association (KFA) said, “We will forever remember the cheers and glory of the day you were with us.” Incheon United and Yokohama, Japan, also posted tributes.

The late Yoo started his professional career in 1994 when he joined Ulsan Hyundai. He went on to play for Yokohama, Kashiwa and Reysol in Japan 메이저사이트 before ending his professional career with Ulsan Hyundai in 2006.

He is considered one of the best multiplayer players in Korean history. This is because he has the ability to play most positions in all weathers, from defense to midfield to attack.

When he retired from active duty in 2006, he was the first to admit that he was nearly blind in his left eye, a symbol of his fighting spirit. In the 2001 Confederations Cup against Mexico with Hiddink, he played the full game despite breaking his nose in the first half and scored the winning goal with a header just before the end of regulation to secure a 2-1 victory.

He went on to become the founding head coach of the Chuncheon Institute of Technology soccer team, as well as the head coach of Daejeon Citizens, Jeonnam Dragons, and Incheon United.

On June 7 last year, the first anniversary of Yoo’s death, the Korean Professional Footballers’ Association paid tribute to him once again, and Ulsan also opened a memorial space in his honor.

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