ACL lured Kim Jae-sung to Adelaide United
The Korean midfielder is one of three players to join the Reds this week alongside strikers Eli Babalj and Baba Diawara
New Adelaide United midfielder Kim Jae-sung has revealed he had two main reasons for joining the A-League club after 11 years playing in South Korea.
Kim was unveiled as an Adelaide player on Wednesday – one of three signings made by the Reds this week alongside Australian striker Eli Babalj and Senegalese forward Baba Diawara.
Adelaide have secured the Korean midfielder for the rest of the season and Kim explained he was lured by the opportunity to play abroad for the first time in his career and make his return to the AFC Champions League (ACL).
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“As a player, I think I have achieved a lot. I’ve been to the 2010 World Cup and been a national team player for my country, won championships, won the [AFC] Champions League with my club in Korea,” he said.
“So I felt like I had achieved everything I could football-wise, but there was just one challenge I always had – and a dream I had – and that was to play overseas.
“To be able to achieve that goal in this late period of my career, it’s just been an honour.”
Kim won the ACL in 2009 while at Pohang Steelers – the K League club where he spent the majority of his career.
The 33-year-old has also played for Bucheon SK, Jeju United, Sangju Sangmu and Seoul E-Land.
Last season, Kim played on loan at Jeju from E-Land, but made just eight league appearances as they qualified for the ACL.
Kim will get the chance to reunite with his former team-mates on March 15 when Jeju will visit Adelaide in the ACL’s Group H.
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“One of the main reasons for joining Adelaide was to be able to play in the Champions League with this club, and coincidentally we’re in the same group as my old club – Jeju United – so it’s going to be weird,” he said.
“It’s going to be a different experience but, for me, no matter which club I play for I’m out there to win.”
While Kim and Babalj are already in Adelaide training with the club, Diawara has yet to arrive in Australia as he awaits final approval of his work visa.
Diawara joins the Reds from Portuguese club Maritimo where he has played nine league games this season but has yet to score a goal.
The 29-year-old, who can play as a winger and a central striker, has extensive experience in La Liga with Getafe, Levante and Sevilla, while his European career has been bookended by stints at Maritimo.
Babalj, 24, spent last season on loan at Adelaide from AZ Alkmaar but made just five appearances due to injuries.
Adelaide’s trio of recruits effectively replace James Holland, Sergi Guardiola and Henrique, who all left the club during the January transfer window.