After completing his first season with Olympiacos, Hwang In-beom shares his honest thoughts on the new challenge.
Daejeon Hana Citizen lost 1-3 to Incheon United in the 16th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Daejeon World Cup Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on April 4. After failing to earn a point, Daejeon dropped to sixth place in the league with 22 points. They are still in the top 50 percent, but they need to turn things around as they have not won recently.
A special guest came to the stadium that day. It was Hwang In-beom, the “Son of Daejeon”. Hwang made his professional debut in 2015 for the Daejeon Citizen, a youth team affiliated with Daejeon. He played for three years and gained experience. After serving in the Asan Mugunghwa (military service), he returned to Daejeon and continued to play.
He then knocked on the door of the international scene. In January 2019, he moved to the Vancouver Whitecaps of the American 먹튀검증Major League Soccer (MLS). He went on to play for Rubin Kazan (Russia) and now Olympiakos (Greece). This season, he has scored five goals and provided four assists in 40 games across the Greek league and the UEFA Europa League (UEL).
After the season ended, he arrived in Korea for a personal schedule before the June A match. Hwang In-bum, who continued to show his love for Daejeon even after his overseas transfer, was appointed as an ambassador for the Hometown Love Donation Program by Daejeon City, visited his hometown team for the first time in a long time, and interacted directly with the fans by taking on the role of collider (cheer leading) in the supporters.
We were able to meet Hwang In-beom briefly during the game. “There are so many fans here today. It’s a new feeling. It’s a special feeling because we were together when the team was struggling in the past. I watch Daejeon’s games overseas, and the fans I’ve seen since I was a kid are on the broadcast screen. It was nice to see them,” he said, reminiscing.
With the season over, the question of his future came up. According to soccer statistics website TransferMarkt, Hwang’s contract runs until 2025. However, his performances for Olympiakos have attracted the attention of several teams. Inter Milan (Italy) and Rangers (Scotland) are the current favorites.
In response, Hwang said, “What I’ve always thought about while transferring, I aimed for a team that wants me and wants me to grow. It didn’t matter what country or league it was. Of course, if I was given the opportunity to go to some of the leagues that fans want, I would not hesitate to challenge them,” he said.
“But if the opportunity doesn’t come, I will continue to play for Olympiacos, who have given me so much love. The A-Match is coming up and if I continue to perform well for the national team, I think I will get another chance. It doesn’t mean that I will leave Olympiacos unconditionally, that would be disrespectful,” he said, putting himself in the shoes of his club.
Hwang In-beom had a brief stint with FC Seoul after leaving Rubin Kazan in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After the 1-5 loss to Brazil in June last year, Hwang expressed his desire to go abroad and challenge himself on a bigger stage, saying, “Even if I couldn’t play, I felt that I had to compete with world-class players.”
He still had that idea. “If you look back at last year, I played a lot of matches, including the national team. It means I didn’t have any injuries. I learned how to take good care of my body. Also, playing as a two-ballanch (two defensive midfielders) for Olympiacos this season helped me physically, as I was involved in a lot of offense,” he said.
“Whether I stay at Olympiakos or take on a new challenge, I just have to play football at a high level. It was a season that wasn’t perfect, but it laid the foundation for me to not be intimidated by playing at a higher level like the World Cup in Qatar.”