The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary South Korean Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous South Korean Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of South Korean Soccer Players.
With an HPI of 67.06, Cha Bum-kun is the most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 32 different languages on wikipedia.
Cha Bum-kun (Korean: 차범근; Korean pronunciation: [tɕʰa.bʌm.ɡɯn] or [tɕʰa] [pʌm.ɡɯn]; born 22 May 1953) is a South Korean football manager and former player, nicknamed Tscha Bum or "Cha Boom" in Germany because of his name and his thunderous ball striking ability. Cha was known for his thick thighs, which showed explosive pace and powerful shots. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Asian football players of all time by experts, including IFFHS and ESPN.In 1972, Cha had been capped by the South Korean national team as the youngest player in history called up to the squad. He is the all-time leading goal scorer for the South Korean national team with 58 goals, and won the 1978 Asian Games. He is also the youngest player to ever reach 100 caps in the world at 24 years and 139 days. After developing into the top player in his country, he left for West Germany, and played for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen. He scored 121 goals in two Bundesliga clubs, and won the UEFA Cup with each team. He started a youth football clinic to develop South Korean football after his retirement. He managed the national team for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and two K League clubs.
With an HPI of 63.49, Hong Myung-bo is the 2nd most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.
Hong Myung-bo (Korean: 홍명보, Hanja: 洪明甫; Korean pronunciation: [hoŋmjʌŋbo]; born 12 February 1969) is a South Korean former footballer who played as a sweeper, and the current head coach of Ulsan Hyundai. Hong is often considered one of the greatest Asian footballers of all time. Hong was a member of the South Korean national team in four FIFA World Cups, and was the first Asian player to play in four consecutive World Cup final tournaments. He was the first Asian player who received the Bronze Ball at the World Cup. He was also one of only two Asian players in the FIFA 100, Pelé's selection about the 125 greatest living footballers in the world.
With an HPI of 61.34, Son Heung-min is the 3rd most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.
Son Heung-min (Korean: 손흥민 ; born 8 July 1992) is a South Korean professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and captains the South Korea national team.Born in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, Son relocated to Germany to join Hamburger SV at age 16, for which he made his debut in the German Bundesliga in 2010. In 2013, he moved to Bayer Leverkusen for a club record €10 million before signing for Tottenham for £22 million two years later, becoming the most expensive Asian player in history. While at Tottenham, Son became the top Asian goalscorer in both Premier League and Champions League history, and surpassed Cha Bum-kun's record for most goals scored by a Korean player in European competition. In 2019, he became the second Asian in history to reach and start a UEFA Champions League final after fellow countryman Park Ji-sung.A full international since 2010, Son has represented South Korea at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups and is his country's highest scorer in the World Cup jointly with Park Ji-sung and Ahn Jung-hwan with three goals. Son has also represented South Korea at the 2018 Asian Games, where the team won gold, as well as the 2011, 2015 and 2019 editions of the AFC Asian Cup. Korea was runner-up in 2015. Widely regarded as one of the best wingers in the world and also one of the best Asian players in European football history, Son was the first Asian player in history to score more than 50 goals in the Premier League, and was nominated for the Ballon d'Or in 2019, the highest-ever rank so far by an Asian player. Often considered an icon in his home country and in Asia, Son is viewed as a symbol of national pride in South Korea for his achievements, and has been listed in Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40, where he ranked 9th in 2019, and 4th in both 2020 and 2021.
With an HPI of 60.43, Park Ji-sung is the 4th most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.
Park Ji-sung (Korean: 박지성; Hanja: 朴智星; Korean pronunciation: [pak̚.t͈ɕi.sʌŋ]; born 30 March 1981) is a South Korean former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. Born in the South Korean capital Seoul, Park is the most successful player in Asian history, having won 19 trophies in his career. He is the first Asian footballer to have won the UEFA Champions League, to play in a UEFA Champions League final, as well as the first Asian to have won the FIFA Club World Cup. Park was able to play anywhere across the midfield and was noted for his exceptional fitness level, discipline, work ethic and off-the-ball movement. His remarkable endurance levels earned him the nickname "Three-Lungs" Park.Park began his football career in his native South Korea and played for the Myongji University team before moving to Japan to play for Kyoto Purple Sanga. After Park's national team manager Guus Hiddink moved back to the Netherlands to manage PSV Eindhoven, Park followed him to the Dutch side a year later. After PSV reached the semi-finals of the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, Park's talents were recognised by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and he signed Park for a fee of around £4 million in July 2005. In his time at United, Park won four Premier League titles, the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League, and the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. He moved to Queens Park Rangers in July 2012 after suffering a reduction in his number of appearances for Manchester United the previous season. However, an injury-interrupted season with QPR, combined with the club's relegation, led to Park rejoining PSV on loan for the 2013–14 season. As a member of the South Korea national team, Park won 100 caps and scored 13 goals. He was a member of the team that finished fourth at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and also represented his nation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. At the World Cup, he was named man of the match four times, the most of any Asian player, and is currently South Korea's joint all-time leading World Cup goalscorer with three goals alongside Ahn Jung-hwan and Son Heung-min, having scored in three consecutive tournaments.
With an HPI of 59.90, Ahn Jung-hwan is the 5th most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.
Ahn Jung-hwan (Hangul: 안정환; Hanja: 安貞桓; Korean pronunciation: [an.dʑʌŋ.ɦwan] or [an] [tɕʌŋ.ɦwan]; born 27 January 1976) is a South Korean former football player and television personality. A former second striker, he played for South Korea and scored three goals in two FIFA World Cups, including the golden goal against Italy which led his team to the quarter-finals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. After his retirement as a football player, he became a television show host and a football commentator.
With an HPI of 58.19, Huh Jung-moo is the 6th most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.
Huh Jung-moo (Korean: 허정무, Hanja: 許丁茂, born January 13, 1955 in Jindo, Jeonnam, South Korea) is a former South Korean football player and manager.
With an HPI of 57.84, Hwang Sun-hong is the 7th most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Hwang Sun-hong (born 14 July 1968) is a South Korean former football player and current manager of South Korea U-23 national football team. He was the most notable South Korean striker in the 1990s and early 2000s.
With an HPI of 56.02, Lee Woon-jae is the 8th most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.
Lee Woon-jae (Korean: 이운재; born 26 April 1973) is a South Korean former football goalkeeper. He was part of South Korea's 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup campaigns. He was, with Mark Schwarzer, one of only two Asian players to be nominated for the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper of the 21st Century (2001–2011).
With an HPI of 55.81, Kim Joo-sung is the 9th most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Kim Joo-sung (born 17 January 1966) is a former South Korean football player. Kim is regarded as one of the greatest Asian footballers of the 20th century. He was nominated for IFFHS Asia's Player of the Century, finishing second place. He was nicknamed the "Wild Horse" due to his pace and long mane of curly hair, for which he was also nicknamed the "Samson" due to his long hair style. Normally deployed as a winger, he was capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, and played as a sweeper after the knee injury. He played for the clubs Chosun University and Daewoo Royals, both in South Korea, and later in the German Bundesliga for VfL Bochum.
With an HPI of 55.71, Choi Kang-hee is the 10th most famous South Korean Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Choi Kang-hee (Korean: 최강희; Hanja: 崔康熙; born 12 April 1959) is a South Korean football manager and former player.
Pantheon has 127 people classified as soccer players born between 1953 and 2001. Of these 127, 127 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Cha Bum-kun, Hong Myung-bo, and Son Heung-min. As of October 2020, 21 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Kim Byung-ji, Lee Min-sung, and Choi Dae-shik.
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