Vietnamese striker signs one-year deal with Belgian club

By Duc Dong   July 5, 2019 | 05:56 am PT
Vietnamese striker signs one-year deal with Belgian club
Nguyen Cong Phuong (L) receives his number 15 jersey from Takayuki Tateshi, manager of Belgian top-flight club Sint-Truidense V.V., in Ho Chi Minh City, July 5, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Belgian top-flight club Sint-Truidense V.V. have confirmed the signing of Nguyen Cong Phuong on a one-year loan deal from Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, Phuong said: "I have failed to impress when playing in Japan and South Korea. I once wanted to return to Japan and seek another chance. Although that didn’t happen, getting to play in Belgium is a turning point that goes beyond my imagination."

He said the football environment in Europe is very good and he will learn from his failure in Japan and South Korea.

The new deal is about his football ability and nothing else, he said.

"When I agreed to come here, I didn’t discuss anything outside the professional aspect. The club looked at my performance to sign the contract and not for other benefits. I will seize this opportunity and will not let people down."

He also said adapting to the environment in Europe would be easy for him.

"I have been to many countries and seen different cultures so adapting is no longer a problem. I have faced many strong teams during my training time in Europe, and my former coach is also came from Europe; so I hope my playing style will be suitable for Sint-Trudense.

"I would like to thank the fans for the support and I hope I won’t disappoint you guys again."

Phuong is expected to start playing for the new club later this month. The transfer value has not been revealed, but Doan Nguyen Duc, owner of Hoang Anh Gia Lai, said it is more than the $150,000 transfer to Incheon United earlier this year.

Club manager Takayuki Tateshi said: "When we targeted Cong Phuong, we discussed with the Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC head coach. We have been following Cong Phuong for a long time, at Mito Hollyhock, Incheon United and the Vietnam national team. We think he has experienced many failures and learned many lessons."

Sint-Truidense V.V. is currently in seventh place in the Belgian Pro League.

This is Phuong’s third overseas stint after unsuccessful ones at Japan’s Mito Hollyhock and South Korean’s Incheon United.

He left the South Korean club in June after just four months despite signing a one-year loan deal. In 14 matches he only played 352 minutes and failed to score, having only three shots at goal.

He becomes the second Vietnamese player ever to play in Europe, the first being former striker Le Cong Vinh, who played in Portugal’s top flight league Primeira Liga side Leixões S.C. in 2009.

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