|South Korea's Lee Seung-woo celebrates after scoring a goal against Japan in the men's football final match at the 18th Asian Games at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, Indonesia, on Sept. 1. / Yonhap|
By Kang Aa-young
South Korean winger Lee Seung-woo ended his month-long journey at home and returned to his football club, Hellas Verona in Italy, Thursday.
Lee fulfilled a crucial role while playing full-time in South Korea's U-23 Korean national football team led by head coach Kim Hak-bum during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. He scored the first goal in the gold-medal match at the Asiad and gave Korea the lead against Japan, just a few seconds after extra time. Then Hwang Hee-chan scored a second gold a few minutes later to extend Korea's lead.
After clinching the gold at the Asiad, he replaced Son Heung-min at the last minute during the friendly match against Costa Rica, playing for the men's national football team led by new head coach Paulo Bento.
|Lee Seung-woo signs autographs during an open training day at the Paju National Football Center in Gyeonggi Province on Sept. 8. The player left for Italy on Thursday to join Hellas Verona. Yonhap|
As Lee is considered a crucial player in leading team Korea to win the gold, he has become a rising young footballer, often picked by a majority of fans here as their "favorite," along with Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min.
Aside from his remarkable performance, he generated buzz in and out of the nation with his victory celebration during the past match, particularly when he happened to stand on top of a Toyota billboard during the final match against Japan.
It has been a seriously intense summer for the young star having represented South Korea at both the World Cup in Russia and the Asian Games.
Having played a key role in his country's recent success, Lee is now ready to go ahead to Italy's highly anticipated second-tier Serie B match between his team and Carpi FC on Sunday.
His team eventually relegated to Serie B last year.
Ahead of his visit to Italy, Lee expressed gratitude to his team for letting him compete in the Asiad, while offering no excuses.
"Lee plans to focus solely on a upcoming match to repay his team's favor, allowing him to play at the World Cup and the Asian Games," Lee's agency said, Thursday.
There weren't any transfer opportunities for him during summer since he consistently played national games.
It has been said that when Lee and Italian side Hellas Verona reached an agreement for the transfer, signing a four-year-deal in 2017, several teams from Italy, Spain and Germany also made him offers. He was also elected as Asian Young Footballer of the Year last season.
Hellas Verona however, values the 20-year-old at 5 million euros after having invested 1.5 million euros a year ago.
The transfer window has closed down for this season.
Lee will participate actively on his current team and seek further opportunities during the coming transfer market in winter.