To sports now and for that we have our Paul Neat in the studio.
Paul, lots of big sporting news this week, we have Major League Baseball returning at the weekend but before we get to that, there has been some huge K League news. First it was Lee Chung-yong but now another Korean football star has returned home after a successful spell in Europe.
Yes, that's right Conn-young. Former National Team captain, Ki Sung-yeung has returned to K League after 11 years in Europe. He has signed for FC Seoul on a three-and-a-half year contract, the team he departed in 2009. His signing will provide a huge boost to the team as they are languishing in the lower reaches of the table at the moment.
This wasn't an easy deal to complete though, was it?
No, in fact Seoul tried once in February but we unable to come to an agreement. Ki then joined Real Mallorca in La Liga but the COVID-19 pandemic limited him to just one appearance as a sub. Mallorca and Ki couldn't come agree on an extension to his short-term contract beyond the end of June 30th and so he returned to Korea.
Almost as soon as he arrived rumors began to circulate about a K League return too?
Yes, absolutely. At first his agency were being somewhat cagey and insisted that they were in no rush to find a new club. But then reports began to appear in the Korean media suggesting that a deal was being hashed out with Seoul. It went quiet for a few days but then, on Sunday afternoon, FC Seoul sent out an official press release to confirm that they were indeed in talks with Ki Sung-yueng and a formal announcement will follow after a medical. He was unveiled on Tuesday and was presented in front of the nation's media at a press conference on Wednesday. But, we might have to wait a while before we see him in action, certainly as a started, as he is not one-hundred-percent fit.
To baseball now and MLB where a couple of Korean stars are set to make their debuts this weekend.
Yes, first we have Ryu Hyun-jin due to make his Toronto Blue Jays debut in what should be something of a Korean derby against Tampa Bay Rays and Choi Ji-man. The pair will be facing each other for the first time in the major leagues, so that should be interesting. Ryu, of course, spent seven years with the LA Dodgers before moving to Toronto. He is regarded as one of the best pitchers in baseball and so it is perhaps of little surprise to see that he has been named as starting pitcher for the Blue Jays for Saturday.
Good luck to both. But, I understand that there is an issue with the Blue Jays' home stadium?
Yes, that's right. This week the Canadian government announced that the Blue Jays will not be allowed to use their home stadium, Rogers Center, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government do not want to take risks and have teams fly from the U.S. into Canada and vice versa. There aren't really any viable options available at present so we will have to wait and see what happens with that.
Ryu Hyun-jin has been in MLB for a while, but another Korean star is set to make his Major League debut this weekend.
Yes, Kim Kwang-hyun has been named as closing pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals ahead of their game with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As you say, he will be stepping onto a Major League ballpark for the first time. He departed SK Wyverns after an impressive season last year. His ERA, 'earned run average', was 2.51 in 2019 - the third-best in KBO. His form prompted the Cardinals to part with a one.six million dollar posting fee to the Wyverns and pay Kim 11 million over the course of his two-year contract. So good luck to the Korean Major Leaguers this weekend.
Thank-you for that, Paul. We will see you next time.