Kim Min-jae looks to bring Serie A experience to Qatar

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Kim Min-jae looks to bring Serie A experience to Qatar

Kim Min-jae talks to reporters in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.  [JOONGANG ILBO]

Kim Min-jae talks to reporters in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday. [JOONGANG ILBO]

Korean center-back Kim “The Monster” Min-jae is raring to go in Qatar, dismissing concerns that he might be tired after a hectic club schedule and making it clear he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help Korea advance at the World Cup.

“I’m only focused on the showdown against Uruguay,” Kim told reporters at the Al Egla Training Facility in Doha on Tuesday. “I think the most important thing is to sacrifice for the team and play as one.”
Kim has been the center of the Korean back line for years, but arrives in Qatar in a far brighter spotlight than ever before.  
Over the past five months, Kim has arrived in Europe with Serie A club Napoli, appeared in 14 of 15 league games without losing a single one, earned Player of the Month honors twice and made it on to a number of lists of the best defenders in the world.
"I’m having a great time in Italy," Kim said. "Every match has been a battle, and I hope I can share that experience with my teammates in the back line here."
Kim said he was happy to be reunited with his national team teammates, particularly the defenders that he has played closely with for years.
“Kim Young-gwon and I have been playing together on the national team for a long time,” Kim Min-jae said. “We are familiar and comfortable with each other. We’ll focus on reviewing what we’ve done together in the past and ensuring we make less mistakes, rather than trying to change everything.”
With Korea set to face Uruguay, Portugal and Ghana in the group stage at the World Cup, Kim said he knows just how important defense is going to be.
"I don't know if the coach will use a back four or a back three, but I'm ready to do my best to play my role,” Kim said. “As the importance of defense has increased, I’m beginning to understand how much pressure [Son] Heung-min is under.”
After such a grueling club schedule with 20 appearances already this season, Kim dismissed concerns that he might be struggling with tiredness going into the World Cup.
"I've played a lot of matches for the club, but we all have," Kim said. "I just want to join the squad as soon as possible and get going."
Korea will play their opening game of the 2022 Qatar World Cup against Uruguay on Nov. 24.

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