South Korean soccer’s “iron pillar,” Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), who is known for his world-class defense, has become mentally stronger and more mature.

“It’s a tough situation for all players, but I’m just grateful to be able to play without getting sick,” Kim said of the “abuse controversy” surrounding him at the press conference for the second Asian qualifier for the 2026 North American World Cup at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Guangdong, China, on Tuesday. This is the first time Kim has held an official A-match press conference since the launch of the Clean Sweep program in late March against Uruguay.

Since joining Munich from the Bundesliga in the 2023-24 season, Kim has played full-time in 17 of Munich’s 18 official matches, including four A-Match matches in September and October. He also played full-time against Singapore on Sept. 16.

On that day, Kim Min-jae said, “I think my body is tired from playing so many matches. When asked by the press how he is overcoming it, he said, “Of course it’s hard. But I wouldn’t say it’s hard because all players are hard,” he replied.

Kim Min-jae also said, “We’re playing a lot of games,” adding, “It’s different for those who are playing and those who aren’t, but it’s the same for everyone. It’s not fair to say, ‘It’s hard, I’m going to die,'” he said. “I’m just grateful to be playing without getting hurt. I think it means I’m still in good shape,” he said, adding, “I’ll take care of myself so I don’t get injured.”

Eight months ago, Kim Min-jae was caught up in the ‘national team retirement hype’ after talking about his struggles. Meeting the press in the joint press area (mix zone) after South Korea’s second A match against Uruguay under Jürgen Klinsmann, Kim said, “I’m in a state of mental collapse right now.” “It’s hard in terms of soccer, it’s hard on my body, and that’s why I want to focus on my club team rather than the national team,” he said. At the time, Kim was still playing for Napoli in the Italian Serie A, where he was going strong in the regular season, Champions League, cup competitions, and A matches. The day before the game, he had appeared at a press conference with Klinsmann to prepare for the game. There were a lot of articles that interpreted Kim as saying that he was retiring from the national team. 무지개토토 도메인