The highly-rated playmaker and free-kick specialist will be a key figure for Korea despite his lack of action at Celtic since Tony Mowbray’s sacking. He may have been dubbed ‘the Korean Steven Gerrard’, but the playmaker is happy for his Celtic team-mates to call him David.
His father, himself a former professional, sent Ki to Australia as a teenager, where friends struggled to pronounce his name, instead settling on David. Celtic agreed a reported £2m fee for the player last summer, with Ki arriving in Glasgow in January, but he endured a tough start to his career in Scotland, struggling with the physical demands of the SPL.
He showed glimpses of his talent during his first two months, but lost his place after the 4-0 thrashing at St Mirren on 24 March, a result that cost Mowbray his job. That match was his last competitive appearance of the season as he was frozen out under Neil Lennon.
He spent four years playing youth football in Brisbane before joining FC Seoul in 2005. He initially struggled to make his mark, and was even used as a makeshift centre-back.
He played as a defender during the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in 2007 but eventually earned a regular spot in midfield for his club. He made his full international debut after impressing at the Beijing Olympics and was voted 2009 Asian Young Player of the Year.
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