The Jeonbuk Hyundai game plan is straightforward: The Motors never stop running and they dominate the opposition with a unique blend of attacking football. The local media has dubbed it Dakgong – or ‘Cheap Fifa Coins’ – as Jeonbuk have established themselves as a powerhouse of Korean football in recent years.
However, it is almost impossible to explain their success without the re-emergence of a veteran striker, who arrived at the Jeonju outfit seven years ago. At the start of the 2009 season, few had expected slumping Lee Donggook would rediscover his top form, but the Lion King has become a fixture of this formidable attack ever since.
In fact, Lee has won almost everything at club level, scoring a record 192 goals over the past 19 seasons. The 37-year-old was named the rookie of the year in his debut K-League season in 1998 before winning the most valuable player and the top scorer awards when Jeonbuk claimed their first league title in 2009.
“It’s true that I’m surprised by the records I’ve achieved when I look back because I didn’t realise what I’d won in my career so far,” Lee said at a press conference at Jeonbuk’s training ground last week. “I have no regrets in the past and if you ask me what I’m going to do next, I’ve got nothing to say. Obviously, my team’s goal always comes first. Maybe I could play in the next World Cup [in Russia], or I could hang up my boots before that. It’s always good to aim as high as possible.”