Lee Kang-in receives heartwarming birthday wishes amid backlash for fighting Son Heung-min

By Hoang Nguyen   February 20, 2024 | 07:06 pm PT
On his 23rd birthday, South Korean star Lee Kang-in still received heartwarming wishes despite being slammed and boycotted for the brawl with captain Son Heung-min in the national team.

It was a birthday of mixed feelings for Lee as it came during a tough time for him. Lee was boycotted by fans and some brands removed him from collaboration after a brawl with captain Son on Feb. 5, one day before South Korea lost 0-2 to Jordan in the Asian Cup semifinal.

Amid the backlash, Lee still received some encouragement on his 23rd birthday. On Feb. 19, his French club PSG made him a video to wish him a happy birthday. Ligue 1, the top-tier football league of France, also sent their birthday wish to Lee. On social media, many fans wished him the best.

Frances Ligue 1 wishes Lee Kang-in a happy birthday on X (formerly Twitter)

France's Ligue 1 wishes Lee Kang-in a happy birthday on X (formerly Twitter).

The Asian Cup incident started when Son reprimanded a group of young players, including Lee, for making loud and disruptive noises while playing ping-pong in the national team's dining room. Lee did not listen and provoked Son, who grabbed his shirt. Lee is said to have thrown a punch toward Son. Although the punch did not hit Son, his finger was dislocated when other teammates tried to break them off.

When the incident was exposed to the media on Feb. 14, most fans were on Son's side, while Lee was the center of criticism and the pressure on him did not wane, even when he issued an apology for his actions.

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