Jürgen Klinsmann (GER) has “finally” stepped foot on South Korean soil. It’s been 45 days since he left the country on March 1. It’s a bittersweet situation that the ‘homecoming’ of the South Korean national soccer team’s head coach, who just finished an A-match friendly, has become a big topic of conversation. However, Klinsmann said it was a new experience for him, as he had rarely been welcomed by so many people when he went abroad. It was a sign that he was either unaware of the negative publicity or the outpouring of fan support, or that he didn’t care.
The news of Klinsmann’s return was not officially announced by the Korean Football Association (KFA) until after 6pm on the 13th. Initially, Klinsmann was scheduled to travel to Germany to watch the Bayern Munich-Bayer Leverkusen match after the two European A match trials against Wales and Saudi Arabia, but he changed his plans and boarded a plane to Korea.
Bittersweetly, the news of the national team’s head coach returning home created a buzz of its own. Contrary to his promise when he took over, Klinsmann had spent only 67 days in Korea since his appointment in March and had been embroiled in a so-called home-and-away controversy. Klinsmann had been criticized for putting the Korean national team on the back burner, giving interviews about European soccer from his home in the United States, skipping the press conference announcing the roster and attending the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.
Terminal 2 at Incheon International Airport on the 14th. Klinsmann’s return to Korea was met with a much larger than usual media presence, as it was unusual for him to step foot on Korean soil. The fairly normal situation of a national team coach returning home after an A-match overseas has become a hot topic. It also meant that things were not going well for Klinsmann and the national team.
Naturally, he should have gotten some idea of the domestic mood and fan sentiment. However, Klinsmann didn’t seem to be aware of this throughout the interview. When asked why he suddenly came to Korea after staying in Europe, he smiled and said, 바카라 “You guys asked me to come,” and when he was confronted with a large number of reporters, he said, “It’s a new experience to be welcomed by so many people after a friendly match like this.” It was clear that Klinsmann was not aware of the current situation.
The decision to return home was also far from arbitrary. “The KFA told me that when the national team returns from an overseas trip, a lot of reporters are waiting for them. Originally, I was going to watch Bayern Munich’s game against Leverkusen, where Kim Min-jae was playing, but the KFA asked if I could come back with the players and do interviews, so I told them I had no problem changing (my original schedule). We will watch the two games on the weekend after returning home.” The KFA didn’t ask Klinsmann to return, they asked if he could return, and Klinsmann chose to reschedule and return as if it was a good deed.