When asked to talk about Kim Min-jae, his assistant, Orange Ball CEO Hong Dong-hyun, went on at length about the player’s unique mindset.
When we met in Munich in late July, Mr. Hong had just completed a trip to government offices to set up Orange Ball’s German subsidiary. The company, which was more of a one-man agency for Kim Min-jae, has moved clients from Beijing Guoan to Fenerbahce (2021), Napoli (2022), and this year to Bayern Munich. At Bayern, he should stay a little longer. Hong was laying the groundwork to support Kim well locally.
In close communication with Mauro, the Portuguese agent introduced by Footballist earlier, Hong has been pushing for three transfers of Kim Min-jae. Hong, who speaks fluent German and has lived in the country, has been exceptionally busy traveling back and forth between Korea and Germany since the transfer was finalized. The mission of Orange Ball is to be a company that allows players to focus on soccer whenever they want, just like the orange balls for bad weather they used to play in Germany as children. As we talked, Mr. Hong was still trying to figure out the best environment for his players’ conditioning.
The day Kim became more serious as a player
When asked to characterize the athlete, Hong, who had known Kim since he was a student at Yonsei University, emphasized that he was “goal-oriented.” However, rather than talking about Kim Min-jae at the time, he mainly wanted to talk about how he has changed since entering Europe. The year he spent at Fenerbahçe, a prestigious club in the Turkic region, changed him a lot.
“After the successful Istanbul derby against Galatasaray, I felt that Kim Min-jae’s footballing will was stretched even further. The atmosphere of the derby made me realize that this is European football, and I felt like I had finally landed in Europe. I remember him saying that day, ‘The pressure and weight are definitely different. After that, I became more serious. I feel like an adult as a soccer player.”
Kim never makes the same mistake twice
“I played half a season with Turkkiye. I made some big mistakes against Gaziantep and conceded a goal. What impressed me was my reaction after that game. It was special because I was determined not to make mistakes. After that, he asked me to give him a lot of pointers. That’s when we started having a lot of conversations about my performance. He’s very open to hearing other people’s opinions. He talks openly about his mistakes with me and his agents.”
Kim Min-jae’s goal is to not make mistakes. 안전놀이터 Hong’s words echo what Kim said in a recent interview with Footballist: “I’m a person who is more afraid of failure than success.” When he has a good game, he doesn’t say much, but when he’s not satisfied with himself, he has long conversations on Messenger. In soccer, where offensive and defensive roles are divided, this may be a natural value for a player who aims to be the best in the world as a center back.
“I have my own highlights,” says Kim. When I was at Napoli, everyone was like.