Cho Gue-sung becomes South Korea’s breakout World Cup heartthrob


SEOUL — As South Korea advances to its first World Cup knockout spherical since 2010, one participant specifically is drawing consideration — and never only for his soccer expertise.

Cho Gue-sung, a 24-year-old ahead for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC, has catapulted to worldwide fame for, amongst different issues, his appears to be like.

World Cup bracket and knockout round schedule

Cho’s Instagram following has ballooned from 20,000 earlier than the World Cup to greater than 2.1 million on Sunday, and social media is crammed with adoring messages, some asking for his hand in marriage. He reportedly needed to flip off his cellphone after receiving too many messages from suitors.

A whole bunch of compilations of Cho standing, sitting, working or simply blinking have TikTok customers swooning. Movies beneath the hashtag “choguesung” have been seen greater than 317 million occasions. One user made a “photograph card” of Cho, a token normally reserved for Okay-pop idols.

It seems his staff has turn into conscious of the participant’s newfound fame — Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC posted 4 consecutive movies of Cho to the staff’s TikTok account. “They know what we wish,” one person commented.

Cho stood out final week when he scored two header objectives in opposition to Ghana, after which garnered much more consideration Friday for an apparently contentious alternate with Cristiano Ronaldo, who stated Cho had advised him to maneuver off the pitch rapidly. The scuffle sparked rumors that Cho had realized Portuguese in an effort to taunt the Portuguese gamers extra successfully. Although the rumors went viral on social media, Portugal’s coach, Fernando Santos, stated Cho had made a remark to Ronaldo in English, in accordance with ESPN. Nonetheless, the skirmish raised Cho’s profile even additional, pushing his Instagram following over the two million mark over the weekend.

David Tizzard, an assistant professor of Korean research at Seoul Girls’s College, stated that though different soccer gamers have grabbed nationwide consideration in South Korea — a rustic the place individuals “have all the time fawned over these within the highlight, be it footballers, idols or actors” — it was notable that Cho was gaining worldwide acclaim. “We at the moment are seeing this want emerge everywhere in the world,” he stated.

Tizzard stated social media and South Korea’s current enhance in notoriety and recognition have contributed to Cho’s meteoric rise, along with Cho being “the entire bundle, principally.” He added that the soccer star was “performing excellently on the world stage and breaking stereotypes of what an Asian footballer must be together with his highly effective performances and confidence to push again in opposition to world stars equivalent to Ronaldo.”

The sudden fame has sparked chatter over how Cho might money in on his newfound following. (He’s listed as a Nike athlete on the corporate’s website and touts Nike in his in any other case empty Instagram bio.) A number of groups exterior South Korea are reported to be fascinated with a switch.

For now, Cho’s followers will get one other probability to see him in motion on Monday, when Korea is about to face off in opposition to Brazil within the spherical of 16.

World Cup in Qatar

The newest: The knockout stage continued on the World Cup on Saturday with Argentina beating Australia, 2-1, within the spherical of 16. Argentina, that includes international star Lionel Messi in what might be his closing World Cup, is among the many favorites to win the match and managed to complete first in Group C and transfer on to the quarterfinals regardless of a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in its first recreation.

USMNT: The U.S. males’s nationwide staff fell to the Netherlands, 3-1, on Saturday within the opening match of the spherical of 16. The Netherlands, winners of Group A, had completed the group stage with no loss, conceding only a single purpose. Its successful streak continues, whereas the U.S. run is over.

Knock out spherical schedule: A World Cup group stage crammed with stunning upsets and dramatic turnarounds will now give technique to a knockout round that promises more surprises.

As we speak’s WorldView: Ishaan Tharoor, The Publish’s international desk columnist, chronicles his week at the World Cup in Qatar.

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