Seung Woo Lee turns 18: Analysis of a future crack

Seung Woo Lee turns 18: Analysis of a future crack

Seung Woo Lee has been waiting a long time for this moment. Now, it is impossible to stop the momentum. In recent weeks he has not hide his enthusiasm, while messages from people close to him - for the last few years now - have encouraged him to be patient, because his time was coming.

On Wednesday, the precocious talent from South Korea turned 18. He is the symbol of the Masia Case (which left the club unable to sign players for 18 months) and one of the club's big hopes for the future. 

And it means he can now compete competitively for Barcelona, something he's not done in three years. His first game, in all probability, will be on the  16th or 17th (January) against Cornella - a request for his international clearance has been submitted, but will not have cleared by this weekend.

Amitious character

Since he arrived at the club in 2011, his ambition was clear. His first steps at at the Catalan club left a distinct impression. Lee is one of those players that you know is different and seems set to join the elite. However, the same irreverance he exhibited on the pitch translated, during his early La Masia days, off the pitch, too, where he had some problems. 

The moment things 'clicked'

At the club they highlight the key moment in his personal growth: the arrival of his parents in Barcelona. Until then, Lee has lived at La Masia. Now with his family close, he became more comfortable. In contrast to Paik, another Korean player, his character is more extorverted and he is more of a street footballer.  

Barça, always in his head

Lee has had a lot of offers to leave the club, but his first option was always Barcelona. The club value his loyalty greatly - especially given the hard time he has had due to the problems with FIFA. Despite offers from various English clubs and Real Madrid, he decided to stay with the Catalan side.

FIFA's punishment meant he couldn't train with Barça (only in his own country), so the club decided it would be best for him to spend some time in an environment well known to the teenager. Despite the low temparatures in South Korea at this time of year, he trained with Suwon, where he was reunited with the first manager he every had when he was a boy in Korea. 

Despite not playing with Barcelona's youth teams, Lee has played with his national team, where he is considered the player with the biggest talent in the country. He is a media phenomenon.

Lee the player: Where will he play? What can he add?

From Thursday, he will begin training with Gabri's Juvenil A team, the team which will act as a trampoline for Lee to begin feeling like a footballer once again. The priority is to see how he responds to competition again after three years sidelined. To play regularly, recover match fitness and rhythm, and to have an impact in the future with Barça B - who knows if that will be this season? - are the short-term objectives.

Lee has a profile which is difficult to find. He has the characterstics of a player who can play as a No.10, glide through defenses and is explosive one-on-one. His initial burst of pace is devastating and his profile - which is capable of unbalancing defences - is necessary for both Juvenil A and Barça B.

Physically, he doesn't stand out, but he is deceptively strong when under challenges and his speed makes him particularly dangerous. 

His image: A teenager with 'swagger'  

The 'swaggers' is the title given to hundreds of teenagers around the world today. They are characterised mainly by what they wear (tilted caps, sportswear, skinny pants) and by their music tastes, normally hip hop.

They are young adults concerned about their image (to the point of exhibitionism), constantly connected to social media and with a great sense of camaraderie with each other. Lee's image is very much in this bracket, along with others like Justin Bieber.