‘Iron Pillar’ Kim Min-jae (27, Napoli) returned home with the Italian Serie A championship medal and the best defender trophy.
Kim returned home via Incheon International Airport on Saturday afternoon.
Kim, who joined Napoli from Fenerbahçe (Turkkiye) ahead of the 2022-2023 season, helped the team win its first Serie A title in 33 years with his unflappable defense.
In 35 league appearances, Kim scored two goals and provided two assists while helping Napoli concede the fewest goals in the league (28).
Kim Min-jae played 3,054 minutes in 35 league games this season. He scored two goals and provided two assists, while also registering 1.6 tackles, 1.2 interceptions, 3.5 clearances, and 0.7 shot blocks per game.
According to ratings site Fourscore.com, Kim has an average rating of 7.07 in the league. This is an indicator of his consistency.
His consistency throughout the season earned him the Serie A secretariat’s Player of the Month award in September and the Italian Football Players’ Association’s Player of the Month award in October.
After the league ended, Kim was recognized with an award.
On February 2, he was honored as the first Asian player to be named Serie A’s Best Defender. This is the first time the award has been given to a member of the winning team since its inception in the 2018-2019 season. Kim Min-jae is also the first Asian player to win the award. 스포츠토토
When Serie A announced the award, the organization applauded Kim, saying, “Congratulations on a great debut.” Italian media outlet Tuttone Napoli also shared the news, calling Kim “the best defender in Serie A”.
On June 5, Jürgen Klinsmann, the head coach of the Korean national soccer team, announced the roster for the June A match and congratulated Kim, saying, “It was a happy and proud moment to see him lift the Serie A championship trophy. He has made an achievement that will be remembered for a lifetime.”
In addition, Kim was named to the Serie A Team of the Year. The league’s best 11.
At Incheon Airport, Kim was greeted with the winner’s medal around his neck and the best defender trophy in his hand. He was greeted with cheers from the fans.