‘Made in Brazil you can trust and use?’ As the K-League summer transfer market is nearing its end, a look at the nationality of foreign players revealed that Brazil, the ‘country of football’, occupies an overwhelming proportion.
As of the 11th, 37 out of a total of 69 foreign players (35 in K League 1 and 34 in K League 2) in K-League teams are Brazilians. About 58.2% of all foreigners, or 3 out of 5 players, are Brazilian players. Compared to 36% last year and 30% in 2021, it can be seen that the share of Brazilian players has increased significantly. It is the most since 39 in 2018, before the corona. If additional Brazilian players are recruited in the remaining transfer window, there is a possibility that the number will increase beyond 39.
By club, Daegu, which has a strong ‘Brazilian color’, has only four Brazilian players: Cezinya, Edgar, Baselus, and Beltola. Gangwon-do Gallego, Yago, Gabriel, Wellington are four. I’ve had three Brazilians this summer alone. Pohang Jeonbuk Suwon FC had three players each. Zeca, Oberdan, Wandelsson (above Pohang), Gustavo, Hafa Silva, Andre Luiz (above Jeonbuk), Lopez, Gomes, and Bautersson (above Suwon FC) are showing off their skills. Excluding Ulsan, 11 teams have at least one Brazilian.
Globally, it is unusual to have so many Brazilian players in the K-League. According to the results of a survey by the International Sports Research Center (CIES) under the International Football Federation (FIFA) on foreign players from 2,200 clubs in 135 leagues around the world, Korea ranked fourth in the list of ‘countries that recruited the most Brazilians in 2023’. It is the second largest number after Portugal (213), Japan (79) and the United Arab Emirates (49), who speak the same language. CIES did not disclose the exact period of investigation, but identified the number of Brazilian players who headed to the K-League as 44. It is equal to the United States and Spain.
Encountering a Brazilian player, ‘a country crazy about football’, is as common as encountering a convenience store on the street, to the extent that there is a saying that ‘when a boy is born, he will touch his ankle first and determine whether he will become a professional player’. CIES explained that 1,289 ‘Brazil top talents’ were ‘exported’ this year, the most in the world. France (1033) was more than Argentina (905). For reference, Japan is the country with the most overseas expansion in Asia. It is 22nd overall with 169 people.
Apart from Brazilian players, the proportion of foreign players in each league is gradually increasing. This increased from 5.4 per club in 2017 to 6.5 in 2023. Of the 8,223 players in 281 clubs in 20 leagues belonging to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), 1,573 foreign players accounted for 19.1% of the total. Although there are variations in each continent, the proportion of foreigners in each team is approaching 20% on average. Assuming that the first team is made up of 30 people, it means that about 6 people are foreigners.안전사이트
In line with the global trend, the Korea Professional Football Federation expanded the foreign ownership quota from ‘3 + 1 (Asia) + 1 (Southeast Asia)’ to ‘5 + 1 (Asia)’ ahead of the 2023 season. During the Corona 19 pandemic, the team’s scouting team, which selected foreign players only by watching videos because they couldn’t go abroad, now actively recruited the players they needed for the team after directly checking them locally. As a result, the number of foreign players (69) this year increased by 19 from the previous year, which was 50. The largest number of players since 71 in 2018 made Korea the ‘Land of Opportunity’.
During the transfer window, which is until the 20th, there is a possibility of additional foreign players registering. It is said that Suwon, which is trying to escape the relegation zone, is looking for a foreign striker, and Jeju, which is trying to escape from sluggishness, is looking for a foreign midfielder.