FC Seoul, a professional football club, has only finished in Final B (7th to 12th) for the past three consecutive seasons. But this season is different. With striker Hwang Ui-jo (31), who joined in February, they are running in second place (7 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses). Although he doesn’t have many offensive points (2 goals – 1 assist), Hwang Eui-jo is showing the ‘class’ of a national striker at FC Seoul. In the process of linking the ball, it is the core of ‘Iksu Ball (An Iksu Soccer)’ and actively participates in defense. Seoul coach Ahn Ik-soo praised him, saying, “Hwang Eui-jo is playing the role of scoring more than 15 goals.”
Hwang Ui-jo, who met at GS Champions Park in Guri-si, Gyeonggi-do on the 10th, said, “If I had been greedy, I would have tried to score goals by holding on from the front, but it is more important for the team to win by creating chances through my movements.” In the match against Gwangju FC on the 9th, Hwang Ui-jo helped his junior Na Sang-ho (27)’s goal with a ‘blade cross’ in the 20th minute of the second half when they faced Gwangju FC 1-1. Hwang Ui-jo said, “(Na) Sang-ho said he would give me a long cross, but it turned out to be the exact opposite (laughs). Sang-ho sleeps at our house the day before the game, goes to the stadium together, and plays his usual role (online game) together.” Hwang Eui-jo was born in 1992 and Na Sang-ho was born in 1996. Rumors of a discord between those born in 1992 and those born in 1996 also circulated within the national team, but Hwang Ui-jo said, “Just by looking at each other and me, the players get along just fine.”
Last month, singer Lim Young-woong, who is close to Hwang Eui-jo, performed at a home game in Seoul and performed at a halftime performance, drawing 45,000 spectators. Hwang Eui-jo said, “I had a meal in Bordeaux. Hero knew his brother’s ticket power, but he didn’t know it was this great. He agreed to kick the ball together sometime,” he said.
Hwang Eui-jo moved from Bordeaux (France) to Nottingham Forest (England) in August of last year and was immediately loaned to Olympiacos (Greece) under the same owner. However, he was pushed out of the competition for the starting position and was loaned to FC Seoul for a short period of six months. He has seven games left until his contract expires on the 30th of next month. Seong-yong Ki, a senior and fellow FC Seoul colleague, jokes, “Isn’t it necessary to renew the contract with Seoul?”
Hwang Eui-jo said, “Right now, I am only focusing on Seoul’s victory. The upcoming Ulsan match (14th) is important.” However, “Nottingham won yesterday, so the difference in points was not large. I will look at the results and highlights,” he said around the corner, expressing his desire to re-enter the European stage. This summer, Hwang Eui-jo could either return to Nottingham, his original team, with two years left on his contract, or head to another club in Europe. Hwang Ui-jo is the same agency (US CAA) as Son Heung-min (Tottenham).
Hwang Eui-jo rejected an offer from Minnesota, an American Major League Soccer team, before coming to Seoul. “Conditions were better than in Europe,” he said. After spending three seasons in Bordeaux, the next steps were twisted, but I wanted to take on the challenge of showing my ability once again by improving my condition in Seoul. He went to Europe at a later age than others (27 years old), but he has a dream,” he said.
While Hwang Ui-jo scored 29 goals in three seasons at Bordeaux, he also faced off against Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Hwang Eui-jo said, “I learned from watching all three players tenaciously dig in and score goals when they see a momentary gap.” With a clear sense of purpose in his life, Hwang Ui-jo has long aspired to play in the English Premier League. Even when he joined the French league Bordeaux in 2019, he received English tutoring instead of French. He said, “I am still taking English tutoring twice a week. Caught even after the interview is over. He (I) Sang-ho is also studying English hard.”
In December of last year, Hwang Ui-jo missed a decisive chance in the first match against Uruguay in the Qatar World Cup. Hwang Eui-jo said,메이저놀이터 “It seemed like what I had been doing for four years was collapsing, but there was no turning back. He calmly said, “It seems that just playing in the round of 16 was a good experience.” Hwang Ui-jo, who said he had seen the video of Korean coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s (Germany) goal when he was a player, said, “It’s soft and sharp. When he was called up last March, he advised, ‘He doesn’t have to worry because scoring is a concern of all strikers.’” After scoring, he puts his fingers to his lips and spreads the ‘shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh celebrations’) ceremony, explained, “It’s like letting go of the burden and feeling like you can be calm even for a fleeting moment.”
Hwang Eui-jo, ahead of the Qatar Asian Cup in January next year, said, “It was an opportunity to win the championship in 2019, but it was regrettable (I was eliminated in the quarterfinals) and I will prepare well.” Hwang Ui-jo will turn 34 in 2026, when the World Cup will be held in North and Central America. Hwang Seon-hong, a senior player, also scored a goal at the 2002 World Cup at the age of 35. Eui-jo Hwang said, “I had a meal with director Hwang when I was a rookie. He felt that he needed to be tenacious to become a striker like that. I don’t know how the situation will change with three years left, but I won’t neglect each day.”