Kim Min-jae makes first appearance for Napoli against Lee Kang-in's Mallorca
Kim Min-jae made his first appearance for Napoli on Sunday, playing the first half of a friendly against La Liga club Mallorca less than a week after he joined the Serie A team.
Kim did not get the opportunity to face off against Mallorca's Korean star Kim Min-jae, however, as the young midfielder only played the second half of the match.
Kim joined Napoli on Wednesday last week from Turkish club Fenerbahce after one year playing in the Super Lig. According to reports, Kim is under contract with Napoli until 2025, with the club retaining the option to extend the deal for two more years. Napoli paid 19.5 million euros ($20 million) to Fenerbahce to trigger Kim’s release clause, and have included a 45-million-euro release clause in his new contract.
Kim is set to be only the third Korean ever to play in the Serie A when the season starts later this month.
Sunday's game at Stadio Teofilo Patini in Castel di Sangro, Italy, where Napoli are holding their summer training camp, ended in a 1-1 draw. The Italian club drew first blood with a penalty in the ninth minute, with Mallorca adding one of their own in the 55th minute. The Spanish club's defense was largely shut down while Kim was on the pitch.
Kim's arrival in Napoli ended a long transfer saga that saw him linked to clubs in Italy, France, Portugal and England. After a medical on Tuesday last week, Kim arrived in Castel di Sangro on Wednesday and officially signed with the club. He immediately slotted into pre-season friendly and adapted fast enough to make it into the starting lineup on Sunday.
"This training camp has been a great experience for me," Kim said in a press conference on Saturday. "I feel really positive about my new adventure and I'm sure to learn lots from playing in Italy."
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]