Minjae Kim is poised to make his competitive Bayern Munich debut in the Supercup against RB Leipzig on Saturday. In this exclusive interview he discusses his "Monster" nickname, his improvement since childhood and switching from centre forward to centre-back.
bundesliga.com: You've had several stops in the last few years: Korea, China, Fenerbahce and Napoli. How has that journey been for you in terms of your development as player and as a person?
Kim: “I tried to adapt to the team and the circumstances and that's how I got this far. With this new challenge, I'm starting from scratch again and I think this development is going to be very important from now on. Things went well in the past, but the present is more important.”
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bundesliga.com: You have the nickname ‘monster’. Where did that come from and do you like it?
Kim: “That started in Korea. I must have made a big impression before I became well known, so I was called ‘monster’ from then on.”
bundesliga.com: You started out as a centre forward. Where did this change come from and how did it come about?
Kim: “When I went to middle school after primary school, we played a lot of mini games shortly before we graduated. I liked winning the ball back more than I did dribbling, which I then told the coach. I've been playing as a defender since middle school.”
bundesliga.com: We saw a video of an overjoyed Thomas Tuchel greeting you on your first day at Bayern. How big a role did he play in your decision to join Bayern? Did you speak to him beforehand?
Kim: “Before I came, we talked a lot about my strengths. He told me that I would fit in well with the team and he was excited. Now I have to put in a lot of effort.”
bundesliga.com: Which of your teammates do you look forward to playing alongside the most at Bayern and why?
Kim: “Matthijs de Ligt. However, since I haven't been here that long, there haven't been many conversations with him yet.”
bundesliga.com: You are only the second ever South Korean to play for Bayern. How proud are you to represent your nation at such a historic club?
Kim: “Of course, I'm proud that I was signed by Bayern. It depends on how you look at it. I have to be good to be proud of it. Am I proud? Of course, I'm proud, but first I have to prove something so that people are proud of me.”
bundesliga.com: How would you describe yourself as a person?
Kim: “I'm very shy. I always give my best on the pitch.”
bundesliga.com: How was your transfer received in South Korea?
Kim: “It’s not only me, but also the fans in Korea that are proud of it. There are also many who can't believe it. I'm also still confused!”
bundesliga.com: What were you like as a youth player in Korea?
Kim: “I wasn't very good back then. I wasn't a particularly good player. I was a simple player. It wasn't until I went to university that my talent showed. I was just very hard-working. I tried to increase speed as well as reaction time, and I practiced basic techniques.”
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