Lee Dong-gook is, undeniably, one of South Korea’s best soccer players. Currently playing for the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Dong-gook is well-celebrated player and an unbelievable striker on field. He has played in two FIFA World Cups, two AFC Asian Cups, the 2000 Olympics, and two CONCACAF Gold Cups.
Lee was born in Pohang, South Korea on 29 April 1979. He made his professional debut with the Pohang Steelers in 1998 at 19 years old. His outstanding performance for the Steelers earned him a spot for the South Korean national soccer team.
Aside from playing for the national soccer team, the young Lee Dong-gook was also sent on loan for Germany’s Bundesliga in 2001. He served as a striker for Werder Bremen for six months. He went on a hiatus from professional soccer to fulfill his military duties from 2002 to 2004. Lee returned to the Pohang Steelers in 2004. But in 2006, after suffering from knee injuries, Lee missed the World Cup.
In 2007, Lee was granted a work permit and signed for Premier League’s Middlesbrough on an 18-month contract. After his stint with Middlesbrough, he received various offers from teams in Germany and Japan. He signed for Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in 2008, but moved to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors—his current team—after a year.
Lee is an all-time leading scorer in the K-League. Previously known as a “lazy genius” in his early years, Lee has proved that he can indeed reach the top with hard work and dedication. While Lee is best known for his soccer career, he and his family are currently part of a Sunday variety show called “The Return of Superman,” which features his life as a father to his five children.