Lee hold no regrets over military move

Lee hold no regrets over military move

KUALA LUMPUR - Agence France-Presse
Lee hold no regrets over military move

Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year winner Lee Keun-ho speaks after receiving his award at the ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur. AFP Photo

Newly crowned Asian player of the year Lee Keun-Ho insisted he had no regrets about embarking on a two-year stint of military service despite having to put a “dream” move to Europe on hold.

South Korean Lee was handed Asia’s highest individual honor at a ceremony on Nov. 29, after an outstanding season in which he helped Ulsan Hyundai claim the AFC Champions League trophy.

The 27-year-old attacker is also just days away from another career highlight at the Club World Cup in Japan, where Ulsan will play Mexico’s Monterrey next week for a shot at European champion Chelsea.

But afterwards Lee, instead of moving to Europe, will be drafted into military team Sangiu Sangmu Phoenix, just relegated to the second division.

“I made a decision... This is the best time for me to go to military service,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. “It doesn’t mean I quit playing.”

When asked about a move to Europe, Lee said “definitely not now” but he said it would be a “dream” for any player.

“I [would] prefer to play in Europe. Anywhere I will be is fine as long as I can play in Europe,” he said.

The compulsory military service proved problematic for Park Chu-Young earlier this year, when he was dropped from the national team for delaying his call-up by obtaining a 10-year residency visa for Monaco.