Ki Sung-yueng

Ki Sung-yueng

Ki with Swansea City in 2012
Personal information
Full name Ki Sung-yueng[1]
Date of birth (1989-01-24) 24 January 1989
Place of birth Gwangju, South Korea
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)[2]
Playing position Centre Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Swansea City
Number 4
Youth career
2001–2005 John Paul College
2005 Kumho High School
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006–2009 FC Seoul 64 (7)
2009–2012 Celtic 66 (9)
2012– Swansea City 102 (10)
2013–2014Sunderland (loan) 27 (3)
National team
2004 South Korea U-17 6 (3)
2006–2007 South Korea U-20 16 (2)
2007–2012 South Korea U-23 22 (1)
2008– South Korea 89 (9)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:00, 19 November 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 November 2016
Ki Sung-yueng
Hangul 기성용
Hanja 奇誠庸[3]
Revised Romanization Gi Seong-yong
McCune–Reischauer Ki Sŏng'yong
This is a Korean name; the family name is Ki.

Ki Sung-yueng (Korean: 기성용, Korean pronunciation: [ki sʰʌŋjoŋ]; born 24 January 1989) is a South Korean professional footballer who currently plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Swansea City, and serves as captain of the South Korean national team.

Ki is known for his vision, technique, long-range passing and shooting, along with his good set-pieces.

He has been a full international for South Korea since 2007, gaining over 70 caps. Ki was selected in their squads for two World Cups and the 2011 and 2015 AFC Asian Cups, finishing as runner-up in the latter tournament. He has also played at two Olympic Games with his country, winning bronze in 2012.

On 20 May 2015, Ki was voted as Swansea City Player of the Year as he netted 8 goals in 33 appearances.

Early life

In 2001, Ki went to Brisbane, Australia to study at John Paul College under the BSP (Brain Soccer Program) overseen by Jeff Hopkins.[4] His father saw the move as an opportunity for Ki to play football and learn English at the same time. Ki played his youth football for the school team and was part of the team that won the 2004 Bill Turner Cup, the national inter-school U-15 soccer competition. Ki received offers in 2005 from Korean club FC Seoul and also A-League club Brisbane Roar (then Queensland Roar), but decided to move back to South Korea to continue his career. After moving back to Korea, Ki attended Kumho high school and then enrolled in Kyonggi University. Since then, Ki has been a fluent English speaker. He went by his English name David in Australia.[5] Ki has also expressed a desire to one day return to Australia to finish his career and raise his family.[6]

Club career

FC Seoul

Ki returned to Korea and joined FC Seoul where he played alongside national teammate Lee Chung-Yong. He was a Substitute in the last match of the 2006 League Cup,[7] but could not play. Under Şenol Güneş, he made his senior debut in 2007.[8]

During the 2008 season, Ki reinforced his position as a key player of FC Seoul. On 29 October, Ki scored the winning goal against Seoul's biggest rival Suwon Samsung Bluewings in 92nd minute. Ki performed a "Kangaroo Ceremony", which he claims to be an imitation of Emmanuel Adebayor's ceremony, but Suwon fans have argued that this was imitation of 'chicken', which is what many Seoul fans call Suwon.[8] He led the team to an unprecedented K League runners-up position with 4 goals and 1 assist in 21 appearances.

In FC Seoul's first K League match of the 2009 season, Ki scored one goal in the 6–1 drubbing of Chunnam Dragons. There was increasing speculation regarding a big move abroad with suitors including PSV Eindhoven, Hamburg SV and Porto among others.[8][9]


On 25 August 2009, it was revealed that contact between Celtic and FC Seoul had occurred regarding the possibility of Ki's transfer to the Parkhead club. However, the player's agent stated that an immediate move would be unlikely given FC Seoul's success in the league and the Asian Champions League. Three days later, Celtic clinched a £2.1m transfer for Ki.[8] He linked up with the Parkhead side in the January transfer window at the end of the K-League season. The signing was confirmed on 13 December 2009 after Ki passed a medical and secured a work permit. Ki reportedly turned down an offer from English club Portsmouth then of the Premier League. He took the number 18 with "Ki" on his shirt. He made his debut for Celtic in a 1–1 draw against Falkirk at Celtic Park on 16 January 2010, winning the Man of the Match award from the official Celtic website.[10][11][12][13][14] He played a further four games for Celtic that season, but struggled to make much impact in what was a period of upheaval for the club.

Ki Sung-Yueng playing for Celtic in 2010

Ki barely played for Celtic in the first month of season 2010–11, but came off the bench to score his first competitive goal for Celtic on 22 August 2010 with a shot from 25 yards in a 4–0 victory against St Mirren in the Scottish Premier League (SPL).[15] By the end of October he had become a first team regular and was voted the SPL Young Player of the Month for October 2010.[16][17] However, on 30 October 2010, Ki found himself the recipient of apparent racist abuse during a league match away at St Johnstone. A section of the St Johnstone support were heard making barking noises – 'woofing' – at Ki as he took a corner kick. Chants of "Who ate all the dogs?" were also heard from the home fans throughout the game.[18]

Ki scored his second goal of the season in a 2–2 draw with Inverness Thistle at Celtic Park.[19] On 26 December 2010, Ki scored against St Johnstone in a 2–0 victory in the SPL,[20] in what was his last game for Celtic before travelling to Qatar to play for South Korea in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup during January.[21] On coming back to Scotland in February, Ki returned to the Celtic first team for the 2–2 draw against Rangers in a Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox. Celtic played a significant part of the game with only ten men after Fraser Forster was sent off, but the midfield including Ki won praise for the manner in which they dominated the game in the second half.[22] Ki also played in the replay at Celtic Park, an ill-tempered match which Celtic won 1–0.[23] On 21 May 2011, Ki scored the first goal of Celtic's Scottish Cup Final win against Motherwell with a left-footed strike from around 35 yards. He also won the official Man of the Match award.[24][25]

Ki started the 2011–12 campaign in Celtic's opening game against Hibernian in the SPL. Scoring the second goal in a 2–0 victory, a 25-yard left foot strike into the right hand bottom corner and also won the Man of the Match award from the official Celtic website. He impressed Celtic manager Neil Lennon so much in the Hibernian game that he said:

He's a very important player to us. I rate him very highly. He can go on to be anything he wants to be. We think he is a class player and we're glad he's here. Ki has been very consistent over the past 18 months. He's developing nicely into a class player. He had good presence and good composure on the ball. He has a goal or two in him and his passing range is excellent."

Ki then went on to score another goal on 13 August 2011 in the Scottish Premier League in a 5–1 win over Dundee United at Celtic Park, a strike into the top left hand corner from the edge of the box.[26][27] A couple of days later it was reported that Premier League sides Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur and several clubs from the Russian Premier League were interested in signing Ki. Celtic the next day issued a hands off warning to the interested clubs, saying that it would take a bid of significant proportions for Celtic to allow the increasingly important midfielder to leave the club.[28] On 10 September 2011, Ki put Motherwell to the sword yet again, this time in the Scottish Premier League with a superb strike from outside the box with his right foot. Celtic went on to win the game 4–0. On 29 September, he started in Celtic's 1–1 draw with Italian side Udinese, scoring on a penalty after 3 minutes.[29] On 18 December 2011, he scored the second goal of the game as Celtic beat St Johnstone 2–0 at McDiarmid Park in the Scottish Premier League. Over the course of the 2011–2012 campaign, Ki scored 7 goals and had 6 assists, playing a key role in helping Celtic win the Scottish title.

Swansea City

On 24 August 2012, Ki transferred to Swansea City for around £6 million on a three-year deal, which was Swansea's record transfer fee until it was broken by Wilfried Bony.[30] He made his debut for the Swans in a 3–1 victory against Barnsley in the second round of the League Cup at Liberty Stadium on 28 August 2012. Wearing a No. 24 jersey, Ki started as a central midfielder and was substituted 76 minutes into the game.[31]

Ki enjoyed a promising debut season in the Premier League. Although he failed to replicate the scoring form he displayed at Celtic,[32] his passing style drew praise from supporters and critics,[33] and he finished the season with 38 appearances in all competitions. On 24 February 2013, Swansea City competed in the final of the League Cup.[34] Ki played for over an hour in the final in an unfamiliar central defensive role.[34][35] The tactical switch proved to be a success, as Swansea ran out comfortable 5–0 winners against Bradford City[34] as Ki won his first trophy with the Welsh club.[35]


Ki in action for Sunderland in December 2013

On 31 August 2013, Ki joined Sunderland on a season-long loan with a mid-season re-call option.[36] He scored his first goal for Sunderland on 17 December 2013 in a 2–1 League Cup quarter-final win over Chelsea, cutting inside Ashley Cole then beating goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with a low shot in the 119th minute for the winning goal.[37][38] On 26 December, he scored his second for Sunderland in a 1–0 away win over Everton. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard played a short pass to Leon Osman who was robbed of the ball by Ki. Howard brought Ki down and was sent off, and Ki converted the penalty kick himself to give the Black Cats a vital win. It was Ki's first league goal.[39][40] Ki's third goal for Sunderland came in a 4–1 away win at Fulham, from a well worked set piece by Adam Johnson.[41]

On 22 January 2014, Ki reached his second consecutive League Cup Final, albeit with a different club, as he helped Sunderland defeat Manchester United 2–1 on penalty kicks after the two-legged semi-final had finished level on aggregate; Ki and Marcos Alonso scoring Sunderland's penalties.[42] Ki played for Sunderland against Manchester City in the League Cup Final on 2 March 2014, but despite leading 1–0 at half-time they were overpowered by City in the second half, eventually losing 3–1 to the Manchester side.[43]

Sunderland spent most of the Premier League season in the relegation zone,[44] but Ki played his part in their recovery, even playing on despite suffering tendonitis in his knee for several months.[45] He eventually succumbed to the injury, and played his last club game of the season on 10 April.[45] Sunderland succeeded in avoiding relegation, and eventually finished 14th.[44]

Return to Swansea

Ki returned to Swansea for the start of the 2014–15 Premier League season, stating "This is my third season in the Premier League, and I want to grow as a player and improve to help the team."[46] He scored the first goal of the season in a 2–1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on 16 August.[47] On 28 August, he signed a new contract to last until 2018.[48] Ki became a regular in the side under new manager Garry Monk and by the end of December had started in every Premier League fixture.[49] Ki didn't play for Swansea during January 2015 as he was away on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup. On his return in February, he went straight back in to the side and scored the equalising goal in a 1–1 draw with Sunderland.[50] Swansea lost their next match 2–0 against West Brom,[51] but ten days recorded their second win of the season over Manchester United, Ki scoring their equalising goal in a 2–1 win.[52] In 2016 May 8, he scored against West Ham United F.C. and received good evaluation.[53]

International career

On the international stage, Ki has played in the 2007 U-20 World Cup and for the South Korea national team as well as the South Korea U-23 team.[54]

On 7 June 2008, he made his international debut in a 2010 World Cup qualification match against Jordan.[54]

On 1 June 2010 Ki was picked in the 23-man South Korea World Cup squad.[55] On 12 June Ki played in South Korea's first game of the 2010 World Cup against Greece.[56] Ki played a part in all 3 group games and assisted twice in 2 different matches against Greece and Nigeria which helped him and his country get through to the knock-out stages of the competition.[56]

On 20 December 2011, Ki (along with Ji So-yun of Kobe INAC Japan) was awarded the South Korean Player of the Year award. The decision was announced by the Korean Football Association (KFA) based on his international and club performance in the Scottish Premier League.[57]

In the London 2012 Olympics, he scored the fifth and vital penalty for South Korea in their quarter-final match against Great Britain, allowing South Korea to progress to the semi-finals.[58] South Korea lost 3–0 to Brazil in the semi-final,[59] but defeated Japan 2–0 in the third-place play-off to win the Bronze medal.[60]

Ki was selected for the South Korea squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[61] He played in all three games as Korea were eliminated at the group stage after one draw and two defeats.[62][63] Following the World Cup, Ki was made captain of the national team by new coach Uli Stielike.

Ki also played for South Korea in the 2015 Asian Cup during January, helping his country reach the final against host nation Australia. He provided the assist for Son Heung-Min to tie the final at 1–1 and force extra time, but the Australians scored again during the extra 30 minutes to win 2–1.[64]

Personal life

Ki confirmed in March 2013 that he was dating actress Han Hye-jin, and announced their engagement in May 2013.[65][66][67][68] The couple filed their marriage registration on June 25, 2013,[69] and wed on July 1 at the Intercontinental Hotel Seoul.[70][71][72] Both are devout Christians.[73] They have a daughter, born on September 13, 2015.[74]


On 19 November 2007, Ki wrote "If you are frustrated, why don't you go out and play?" on his Cyworld page in response to the criticism by Korean fans after the South Korea U-23 team's goalless draw against Uzbekistan.Ki deleted his statement after being heavily condemned for his careless behaviour.[75]

On 25 January 2011, during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup semi-final match between Japan and South Korea, Ki scored the opening goal through a penalty kick.[76] Ki created a controversy by celebrating his goal by making a monkey face and scratching his cheek in front of a pitch-side camera in an allegedly racist slur at Japanese people.[77] Ki initially defended his goal celebration through a Twitter post claiming that he was annoyed at having seen a Rising Sun Flag in the stadium.[78] Ki then claimed that the celebration was a reference to alleged racist abuse he had received during Scottish Premier League games from opposition fans, but the chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card expressed scepticism about this.[78] Asian Cup tournament director Tokuaki Suzuki said that no action will be taken on part of the AFC and that FIFA has not contacted the AFC regarding the matter.[77]

In the summer of 2013, it was widely reported that Ki had previously insulted then South Korea national team manager Choi Kang-hee on his Facebook page before and after the match against Kuwait in February 2012.[79] Ki wrote, "Now everyone should have realised the value of the players who play overseas. [He] should have left us alone, otherwise, [he] will be hurt."[80] Ki later apologised for his "mischievous and inappropriate remarks" and his father visited the KFA to apologise as well.[81]

Career statistics

As of 27 August 2016[51][82]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
FC Seoul
2009–10 100000000100
2010–11 263413020354
2011–12 306203071427
Swansea City
2012–13 2902070380
2013–14 1000002030
2014–15 3380010348
2015–16 2920020312
2016–17 1100010120
2013–14 2731061344
Career Total 2492914138219232034

International goals

Results list South Korea's goal tally first.[51]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 10 September 2008 China Shanghai  North Korea 1–1 1–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
2. 11 October 2008 South Korea Suwon  Uzbekistan 1–0 3–0 Friendly match
3. 6 June 2009 United Arab Emirates Dubai  United Arab Emirates 2–0 2–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. 14 October 2009 South Korea Seoul  Senegal 1–0 2–0 Friendly match
5. 25 January 2011 Qatar Doha  Japan 1–0 2–2 (a.e.t., 0–3p) 2011 AFC Asian Cup
6. 13 October 2015 South Korea Seoul  Jamaica 2–0 3–0 Friendly match
7. 17 November 2015 Laos Vientiane  Laos 1–0 5–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
8. 2–0
9. 6 October 2016 South Korea Suwon  Qatar 1–0 3–2 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification



Swansea City



South Korea U-23

South Korea



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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ki Sung-Yueng.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Koo Ja-cheol
South Korea captain
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