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Bayern Munich newcomer Min-jae Kim earned raved reviews for his performances at Napoli. - © Imago
Bayern Munich newcomer Min-jae Kim earned raved reviews for his performances at Napoli. - © Imago

Min-jae Kim: Who is the new Bayern Munich defender?


Wanted by Jose Mourinho and a whole host of big-name European clubs, Min-jae Kim joins Bayern Munich as one of the most coveted central defenders in football. bundesliga.com lifts the lid on the all-action South Korea international...

Data correct as of 18 July 2023

Min-jae Kim

Age: 26
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Central defender
Country: South Korea (49 caps)

Key stats

Kim's penned a five-year deal with Bayern, reward for a short but sweet one-season stint at Napoli. The 6'2" centre-back played in 35 of 38 Serie A fixtures in 2022/23 as I Partenopei lifted their first league title since 1989/90. Underpinning the club's efforts, Kim won 63 percent of his challenges and was only dribbled past five times (best in Serie A for players who played at least 24 games). He also boasted a pass completion rate of 91 percent across all competitions. No outfield player in Europe's top five leagues made as many forward passes in 2022/23 (1,057) and he ranked third for most passes that reached their target (2,547).

Kim made a further nine appearances during Napoli's run to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, adding to his handful of 2021/22 Europa and Europa Conference League outings in the colours of former club Fenerbahce. Earlier on in his career, he won two K-League titles with Jeonbuk Hyunadi Motors. The naturally right-footed defender also lifted Asian Games Gold at U23 level for South Korea, whose senior team he represented at the 2022 World Cup.

Plays a bit like: Jaap Stam

Kim quickly became known as 'the Monster' in Napoli circles, on account of his uncompromising approach in the tackle, but he's so much more than a defensive henchman. The South Korea international boasts exceptional positional awareness, is strong in possession and no slouch in a footrace. It's still early days, but there are some clear similarities with Dutch colossus Jaap Stam, who helped Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United overcome Bayern in the 1998/99 Champions League final.

Kim (r.) has all the qualities required of a modern-day central defender. - Imago

Did you know?

Kim might be accustomed to taking from opposition players, but he's not afraid to give, either. Affectionately called 'the Great Giant' in his homeland, Bayern's new man is an ambassador of the Purme Foundation, a charity committed to improving the lives of disabled children in South Korea. He also donated €75,000 towards emergency projects for children affected by the 2023 earthquake in Turkey.

What they're saying

"I wanted to sign Minjae Kim when I was at Tottenham, but it wasn't possible in the end. Now look at Kim and his level, he's a top player." - Roma head coach Jose Mourinho

"He does at least 20 unbelievable things per game. When he runs with the ball at his feet, he's inside the opposition penalty area within five seconds." - Luciano Spalletti, Kim's former coach at Napoli

"There's no doubt that he is doing extraordinary things, as a technical leader and personality. What a talent." - former Man United and South Korea attacker Park Ji-sung