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Man City boss Guardiola: “Son Heung-min, fantastic, great player”

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) – Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola (Spain) gave a thumbs-up to “Korea’s star player” Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), calling him “a fantastic and great player” as he visited South Korea for a pre-season match.Guardiola attended a pre-match press conference at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sept. 29, a day ahead of the second leg of the Coupang Play Series against Atletico Madrid.City has been the most dominant force in the English Premier League (EPL) for the past decade.Since being acquired by United Arab Emirates (UAE) royalty Sheikh Mansour in 2008 and fueled by “oil money,” the club sportstotozonecom has won seven EPL titles through the 2022-2023 season.Last season, they were arguably the best team in Europe.City swept the English Premier League (EPL), English Football Association (FA) Cup, and UEFA Champions League (UCL) last season, becoming only the second English team in history to win a European triple, joining Manchester United in the 1998-1999 season.City will host Atletico Madrid, the 11-time Spanish Primera Liga champions and 10-time Copa del Rey winners, in the second leg of the Coupang Play Series at 8 p.m. on Sept. 30 at Seoul World Cup Stadium.City traveled to Korea after winning a 2-1 friendly against Bayern Munich (Germany) in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept. 26Guardiola, who has served as the manager of some of the world’s biggest clubs, including FC Barcelona (Spain) and Munich, is the first coach in soccer history to win two European trebles.He led Barcelona to a European treble in the 2008-2009 season.Guardiola, who has been in charge of City since 2016, said: “We will train in good shape. We are playing against a strong team and we will do our best,” he said ahead of the game.On Son Heung-min (Tottenham), who had a strong showing against City, Guardiola said: “He is a fantastic, great player. He is a top quality player.”On Ilkay Gundogan, who left for Barcelona last month, he added: “It was a pleasure to be with him. I don’t think there’s anyone who can replace him because he has great skills on and off the pitch,” he said, adding, “I learned a lot from him too.”When asked how he was able to win praise from players such as Guindoan (Barcelona), Fernandinho (Atletico Paranaense) and Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), who all said he had “learned football anew” or “opened their eyes to the game,” he laughed: “I don’t think they’ll say that because he’s a manager who takes you to the championship.”Each player has different skills and strengths, and there are many top quality players. We’ll have to wait until the end of next month to see,” he said, adding that “all clubs are in the same situation, so we’ll see how the market changes.””It’s sad news that he’s leaving,” he said of David Silva, who announced his retirement. “He was a great player and a key part of our success.””It was a combination of character, skill and hard work, and he was a top-class player,” he said, adding, “I wish him all the best for the future.”Regarding Riyad Mahrez’s move to Al Ahli in the Saudi Arabian Professional League, he said, “You can’t stop players from moving,” adding, “Many players have gone to Saudi Arabia, including Cristiano Ronaldo.”

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