Jeonbuk Hyundai forward Lee Dong-joon went head-to-head on the pitch with world-class players in the 2023 Coupang Play Series against Paris Saint-Germain. He was up against an opponent with such a huge reputation that it was hard to get a single touch on the ball. However, Lee surprised the Paris Saint-Germain defense in the second half of the match with his unorthodox breakthrough. If the referee hadn’t awarded the penalty and the play had resulted in a goal for Jeonbuk, Lee would have been in the spotlight.
We caught up with Lee in the Mix Zone shortly after the game against Paris Saint-Germain, and he was happy to be competing against the best. Even though he was disappointed that the penalty wasn’t awarded, he had the maturity to accept the referee’s decision and said that he was determined to get back to his pre-European form. Even though it wasn’t a good result, he said he doesn’t regret leaving for Europe at that time.
“I can see why Neymar is the best in the world”
Q. How did you feel after playing against Paris Saint-Germain in the 2023 Coupang Play Series?
“It was a great experience to play against world-class players. On the other hand, I’m very disappointed that we lost because we should have played a better game. We will recover well for the upcoming matches and show good form in K League 1 again.”
Q. Since you used a midweek holiday to play a friendly, is it possible that your fitness problems will affect the weekend game?
“I wish we could have been a little more coordinated, but if the fans want it and the team wants it, the players have to play. It was very hot out, so we’ll recover quickly.”
Q. Jeonbuk’s flankers, including Lee Dong-joon, are known for their speed, but against Paris Saint-Germain, it looked like they had trouble breaking through.
“They chased us well, but basically, they are very good players. I played with them and realized that they are really world-class players. On the one hand, the weather is a factor, but that’s something we have to overcome. The summer weather is tough, but the answer is to recover and prepare better.”
Q. Who has been your favorite player to play with?
“Obviously Neymar, I can see why he’s world class, he’s just so good you can’t take the ball away from him. I also played a little bit with (Lee) Kang-In, and I think he looked good too. I realized that Paris Saint-Germain players are all world-class, no matter who they are.” 꽁머니지급
Q. After the game, Coach Petrescu expressed his disappointment with the penalty awarded to Lee Dong-jun for a breakaway in the box, saying it was a clear penalty.
“I thought it was a penalty even when I felt it on the pitch, but the referee said it wasn’t, so I can’t add anything to that, you have to follow and respect the referee’s decision. I think if I had penetrated faster, I would have had a better chance and I think I need to do better in the future.”
Q. It’s been half a year since you returned from Europe. Have you been able to improve on your pre-European performance?