South Korea captain Ki Sung-yueng joins Newcastle United

Published: Jun 30, 2018, 18:54 IST | IANS

"I'm so pleased I can join the club. I was always pleasantly surprised when I came to St. James' Park to play against Newcastle -- there is a great atmosphere and the passion from the fans is a great support to the players," Ki told the club's website

South Korea captain Ki Sung-yueng joins Newcastle United
Ki Sung-yueng/AFP

South Korea football team captain Ki Sung-yueng has signed with Newcastle United in the English Premier League, ending a six-year stint with Swansea City. Newcastle announced a two-year deal with the 29-year-old midfielder on Friday, making him the club's second signing of the summer. It said Ki will join the club on Sunday once his contract with Swansea City expires, subject to Ki's receiving an appropriate visa, reports Yonhap news agency.

"I'm so pleased I can join the club. I was always pleasantly surprised when I came to St. James' Park to play against Newcastle -- there is a great atmosphere and the passion from the fans is a great support to the players," Ki told the club's website. "Everyone knows how big this club is so I'm really looking forward to playing with my teammates and for the fans."

Swansea City were relegated to the second-tier following their 18th-place finish in the English Premier League (EPL) last season. Newcastle finished in 10th place with 44 points. Ki began his professional career with FC Seoul in the K League and moved to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League during the winter of the 2009-2010 season. He spent two and a half seasons there and signed with Swansea City in August 2012.

Ki also spent one season with Sunderland on loan, helping them avoid relegation in the 2013-2014 season, before returning to Swansea City. A long-time captain for South Korea, Ki has won 104 caps for the country -- the 10th most of any South Korean player -- and has competed at three FIFA World Cups. In Russia, Ki missed the team's 2-0 upset victory over Germany in the final group match with a leg injury.

The South Korean team returned home Friday, though Ki travelled to England for what the national team officials said were "personal reasons," fueling speculation that a deal with a new club was imminent. Newcastle head coach Rafa Benitez told the team's website that it was "an easy decision" to bring Kim on board. "He is a player with lots of Premier League and international experience and it was an easy decision to bring him here," he said. "He is the captain of his country, a good character and he will be a good addition to the squad."

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