Kim Min-jae (Napoli) surpassed Khalid Koulibaly (Chelsea) in the first season.
Napoli drew 1-1 in the 33rd round of the ‘2022-23 season Italian Serie A’ against Udinese held in Udinese, Italy on the 5th (Korean time). Napoli, with 80 points, widened the gap with Lazio (64 points) in second place in the league to 16 points, confirming the league title early.
Kim Min-jae made a big success by starting on this day as well, and in the first season after moving to Naples, he lifted the Scudetto (Italian league championship cup). This is the first time a Korean player has won the Italian league. It is also the first major league title since Park Ji-sung (42) won the title with Manchester United.
Kim Min-jae wore a Napoli uniform for 19.5 million euros (approximately 30 billion won). Kim Min-jae had to fill the void left by 메이저놀이터 Koulibaly, the original monster of Naples, who left for Chelsea. Koulibaly played for Naples for 7 seasons and became a legend, so he was full of doubts about Kim Min-jae.
However, Kim Min-jae took the starting position with his unique strong physical and combative defense. Kim Min-jae maximized Napoli’s offensive football, and fans began to acknowledge Kim’s performance. His tremendous performance has already led to rumors of transfers to Manchester United and Liverpool.
Koulibaly never won a league title in his seven years at Napoli. He finished runner-up on all three occasions in the 2015-16 season, 2017-18 season and 2018-19 season. Koulibaly was selected as the best defender in the league in the 2018-19 season, but the championship was not borne in the end.
On the other hand, Kim Min-jae wrote a new history by becoming the champion in the first season. “Squawka,” a soccer statistics site, said, “Kim Min-jae replaced Koulibaly, who seemed difficult to replace. Kim Min-jae shared the championship by winning more aerial balls than any other defender,” he praised.