Turkish media praised Kim Min-jae (26), who has emerged as the world’s best defender.
Kim finished 22nd out of 30 nominees for the 2023 Ballon d’Or at the Château de la Château in Paris, France, on Aug. 31 (KST).
It was the highest ranking among defenders.
A total of three defenders were nominated, including Kim Min-jae, while Josuco Gvardiol was 25th and Juventus Dias was 30th.
The Turkish newspaper Azan’s Spor broke the news of Kim’s Ballon d’Or ranking, saying, “Kim, who played for Fenerbahçe, beat the Manchester City center back duo.”
Turkey and Kim have a long history.
It’s where Kim first started his European career in 2021 when he joined Fenerbahçe from Beijing Guoan.
The Turkish media frequently described Kim as “like a wall” when he played for Fenerbahçe.
After 40 official appearances, including 31 in the league, Kim capitalized on his success with Fenerbahçe and moved to Napoli in Serie A after just one season.
At the time, Fenerbahçe fans were sad to part ways with their all-time favorite defender, but wished him the best of luck at Napoli.
“I only played one season in Turkey, but I’m grateful to Fenerbahçe and the fans for giving me so much love,” Kim said in an emotional farewell on social media.
After leaving Fenerbahçe, Kim grew his wings at Napoli. Last season, Napoli won their first Serie A title in 33 years behind Kim’s ironclad defense.
In 35 league appearances, he ranked among the top in almost every defensive statistic, including 91% passing accuracy, 122 interceptions, 55 tackle attempts, and 41 interceptions.
He also contributed to the offense in set-piece situations, scoring two goals and providing two assists.
As a world-class player, the Bavarians beckoned last summer. 바카라사이트
Other big clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain were interested in the player, but he ultimately chose Munich, led by Thomas Tuchel.
He started all eight games of the 2023-2024 season.
He has also started all three UEFA Champions League (UCL) matches and has been a regular in the team’s defense.
With Munich currently struggling with a number of injuries in the back line, Kim has been the anchor of the defense.
The Turkish publication Azanspor noted that Kim’s transfer fee has skyrocketed year after year.
“Kim came to Fenerbahçe for just €3 million (about $4.2 billion).
Within a season, his transfer fee jumped to 18 million euros (about 25.7 billion won) to Napoli.
And last season, he moved to ‘home’ Munich for €50 million (approximately $71.4 billion).”