[OP-ED] South Korea's Best Footballers: Part 2 - Cha Du Ri
Jay Yim, Aug. 21, 2018, 5:13 p.m.
This is part 2 of South Korea's best footballers of all-time. We will be looking into the profile of Cha Du Ri, son of South Korean legend Cha Bum Kun.
Cha Du Ri (1999 - 2015)
Cha Du Ri was born on July 25, 1980 in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany. He played as a right back, right winger, and striker throughout his career.
Club Career (2002 - 2015)
Cha Du Ri started his club career at his father's old club, Bayer Leverkusen on July 28, 2002. He was loaned out to Arminia Bielefeld for the 2002-03 season.
He made his debut at Bielefeld on September 11 2002 in a 1-1 draw against Kaiserslautern. Cha scored his first goal on January 25, 2003 in a 2-2 draw against Werder Bremen.
Although Bielefeld had interests in keeping him for a second season, Cha decided to follow in his father's footsteps and joined Eintracht Frankfurt on a two-year loan. In his opening game against Bayern Munich, Frankfurt unfortunately lost 3-1. Cha Du Ri played as a striker and remained in the first team despite his struggle to score. Finally on February 22, 2004 he scored his first goal for Frankfurt in a 2-1 win over Hertha. In the summer of the conclusion of the season, he signed a permament contract, signing another two years, and stayed until 2006.
Cha Du Ri joined Mainz on a two-year free transfer on May 14, 2006. On August 16 later that year, he made his debut in a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund. Before the 2006-07 season kicked off, Cha changed from striker to right wingback. However, throughout the season, he sustained a foot injury that prevented him from playing much.
Cha signed a transfer-free contract during the 2007 off-season with Koblenz for the 2007-08 season. His opening game of the season resulted in a 4-1 loss against former club Mainz. On November 23, 2007, Cha Du Ri scored his first goal in a 2-0 victory over Wehen Wiesbaden. At the start of the 2008-09 season, Cha started well, setting up a goal in a 3-0 win over Oberhausen. In a match against Rot Weiss Ahlen on November 28, 2008, Cha made a hat-trick assist, in a 4-0 win for Koblenz. He then went on to score two more goals against Hansa Rostock and Duisburg.
After two years at Koblenz, Cha signed a two-year contract with Freiburg. He scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 victory against Schalke 04. Cha suffered an injury during the 2009-10 season which kept him out for the season.
On July 28, 2010, Cha made his Celtic debut in the UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round against Braga, which resulted in a 3-0 defeat. On August 14, he made his SPL debut against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in a 1-0 victory. He scored his first goal for the club against St Johnstone on December 26.
In the 2011-12 season, Cha continued to struggle due to his international commintment and an injury concern. He also faced competitions when newly signed Adam Matthews was transferred for a right-back position. After a one match suspension, Cha returned on April 22, 2012 against Motherwell and scored in a 3-0 victory. After helping win the league for the first time in five years, Cha left the Celtics, finishing the 2011-12 season.
On June 8, 2012, Cha Du Ri singed a two-year contract with Fortuna Düsseldorf, which was a team that was promoted to Bundesliga. However, Cha was out of the club for weeks, which was later revealed to have been personal issues. Then on September 22, 2012, Cha made his debut match, where he came on as a late sub, but the match ended in a draw.
But after that match, Cha didn't see much more action and was released by the club on February 13, 2013.
On March 25, 2013, Cha signed a two-year contract with Seoul FC of the K League Classic, which marked his first club signing in South Korea. He made his debut match on April 14, in a 1-1 draw against the Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Cha played in the second leg of the AFC Champions League Final after being suspended in the first leg. They played against Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, but did not win.
The 2014 season saw Cha Du Ri remaining on the first team and made impressive plays that would have earned him a spot in the 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil, but was eventually cut.
In the 2015 season, Cha was appointed as Seoul FC's new captain. Cha scored his first goal on July 11, but the match resulted in a 3-1 loss against the Pohang Steelers. He scored his second goal on September 19 in a 3-0 win over the Suwon Bluewings. Finally, on October 31, 2015, Cha Du Ri announced his retirement aftering winning the final of the Korean FA Cup.
Final Club Stats:
Total Appearances - 387
Total Goals - 22
Cha Du Ri made his national team debut in 2001. He scored his first goal for the national team in a friendly match against Costa Rica on April 20, 2002. Cha played his first World Cup in 2002, although he was mainly limited to off-the-bench appearances. Despite not making much appearance in the World Cup tournament, Korea that year shocked the world by advancing as far as the semi-finals, the best ever by the country and by an Asian country overall.
In 2006, Cha Du Ri was left off of the roster for the 2006 World Cup. Instead, he acted as a colour commentator for MBC's live telecasts of the tournament alongside his father. He was added into the squad for the qualification of the 2007 Asian Cup but was not selected for the final team. On October 14, 2009, he was called back to the international team to play against Senegal, which was his first since late 2006.
In the 2010 World Cup, Cha Du Ri played as an attacking right-back the first half of the game against Greece.
Cha was selected for the final team for the 2011 Asian Cup and started in every game as the team advanced to the semi-finals before losing to Japan via penalties. He was named captain of the team in the third place match against Uzbekistan, replacing Park Ji Sung, who had retired from internation duty following the loss to Japan.
Cha was not selected to play in the 2014 World Cup but did play in the 2015 Asian Cup. He played his final international cap against Australia in the finals where unfortunately, South Korea lost.
He announced his retirement from international play after the match. He was called up for a final international match in a friendly against New Zealand, where he received a standing ovation following his sub at half time.
Below is a video of his final moments:
Final International Stats:
Appearances - 48
Goals - 6
Cha Du Ri, although not as good as his father, played an impressive football career and showed off his talents as Cha Du Ri and as Cha Bum Kun's son. In the next part, we will dive into the profile of Koo Ja Cheol, who has and is also playing on German soil in club action. Until next time guys!