|Full name||Lee Chun-soo|
|Date of birth||9 July 1981|
|Place of birth||Incheon, South Korea|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|1994–1996||Bupyeongdong Middle School|
|1997–1999||Bupyeong High School|
|2002–2003||Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i||36||(15)|
|2004–2005||→ Numancia (loan)||15||(0)|
|2005–2007||Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i||48||(17)|
|2008||→ Suwon Samsung Bluewings (loan)||3||(0)|
|2009||→ Jeonnam Dragons (loan)||7||(4)|
|1999–2000||South Korea U20||14||(20)|
|1999–2004||South Korea U23||21||(11)|
|2006||South Korea U23 (WC)||6||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 November 2015|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 1 May 2014
|Revised Romanization||I Cheon-su|
As early as his teen years at Bupyeong High School, Lee was already highly touted as the future of Korean football along with another promising youngster in Choi Tae-uk. Lee, Choi and teammate Park Yong-ho were nicknamed the "Bupyeong Trio", leading their school to three South Korean national high school championships in 1999. Lee and Choi also played together for the South Korean national team at the 2002 FIFA World Cup three years later.
In 1999, Lee was selected as a member of the South Korea under-20 team for the Bangabandhu Cup. He scored five goals against Thailand in his debut game. He also scored both goals in the following game, where South Korea defeated Brazil 2–0. He was also a member of the South Korea under-23 team at the 2000 Summer Olympics. He almost missed a crucial penalty in a group match against Morocco, but succeeded in scoring the rebound.
2002 World Cup
At the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in his home country, Lee played in all seven games for South Korea. Despite playing as a substitute in five games leading up to the quarter-finals, he showed his quick dribbling ability as well as his tenacious defense, becoming an important contributor of the South Korean team in the process. He started the semi-final match against Germany, but displayed a greediness for goal with little regard for teamwork. Still, he almost proved effective with a memorable shot saved by Oliver Kahn.
Challenge in Spain
That same year, Lee also showed his talent in the K League by recording seven goals and nine assists in 18 games in his first professional season. After becoming a World Cup semi-finalist and the top assist provider of the K League at the tender age of 19, he was named the Asian Young Footballer of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation. In July of 2003, he joined the runners-up of the 2002–03 La Liga, Real Sociedad, becoming the first Korean to play in La Liga. However, after a mediocre season, he was loaned out to fellow La Liga side Numancia, and ultimately returned to South Korea. He was unable to score in La Liga in his two years there.
Though Lee failed in Spain due to the difference in level between La Liga and the K League, he was still one of the best South Korean footballers. Though he joined Ulsan in mid-season, his performance proved to be invaluable to Ulsan's capture of the 2005 league. He especially scored a hat trick in the first leg of the championship final. He was subsequently named the K League's Most Valuable Player on 28 December 2005.
The next year, he left a memorable game against Gamba Osaka at the A3 Champions Cup. He played only 45 minutes of the game due to a cold, but scored a hat-trick. At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he played as a starter unlike at the 2002 World Cup. He scored Korea's first goal with a free kick against Togo in a 2–1 win.
Incidents and controversies
In the summer of 2008, Lee joined Feyenoord of the Eredivisie. He got the second chance to play in Europe, but failed to adapt to the Netherlands. While he competed in Feyenoord, he was scammed in his country, and took a two-week vacation to solve the problem. He had difficulty concentrating on football due to his case of fraud, and Feyenoord officially announced Lee's loan to South Korean team Suwon Samsung Bluewings on a one-year deal in July 2008. Even in Suwon, his stint was ill-received: he performed poorly, had clashes with the coaching staff, and was banished from the K League. After a few months, Suwon released him from the banishment, and he could be loaned to Jeonnam Dragons on 26 February 2009.
In June 2009, he claimed a dual contract with Feyenoord that he cannot reject his transfer if a club suggest a high salary to him, and he joined a Saudi club Al-Nassr in the middle of the season. However, the dual contract did not exist in reality, and he was prohibited from joining the K League again after Jeonnam got to know the truth. In March 2010, he left Al-Nassr because the club did not give his wages for three months. He joined a J1 League club Omiya Ardija, and played in Japan for a year and a half.
Return to South Korea
After leaving Omiya Ardija, Lee did not join any foreign professional club for a year, and hoped to play in South Korea. Jeonnam Dragons released his indefinite banishment after watching his behavior including three apologies at the stadium. On 31 March 2013, he came back to the K League after 1,381 days with Incheon United in a game against Daejeon Citizen. After a slow start, he finally got an assist against Ulsan Hyundai on 20 April 2013. On 25 May 2013, he scored his first goal since his comeback against Busan IPark. While at the club, he took the role of veteran to lead the juniors and seniors as one team.
In December 2015, he appeared on the King of Mask Singer and displayed his singing skills.
As of March 2016, he is a commentator for JTBC3 Fox Sports.
In June 2021, Lee signed a contract with DH Entertainment.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i||2002||K League||18||7||3||2||0||0||—||21||9|
|Real Sociedad||2003–04||La Liga||13||0||2||0||—||6||0||21||0|
|Numancia (loan)||2004–05||La Liga||15||0||1||0||—||—||16||0|
|Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i||2005||K League||14||7||1||0||0||0||—||15||7|
|Suwon Samsung Bluewings (loan)||2008||K League||3||0||0||0||1||1||—||4||1|
|Jeonnam Dragons (loan)||2009||K League||7||4||1||0||1||0||—||9||4|
|Al-Nassr||2009–10||Saudi Professional League||16||3||0||0||0||0||—||16||3|
|Omiya Ardija||2010||J1 League||16||2||2||2||0||0||—||18||4|
|Incheon United||2013||K League 1||19||2||1||0||—||—||20||2|
|2014||K League 1||28||1||0||0||—||—||28||1|
|2015||K League 1||20||2||0||0||—||—||20||2|
- Results list South Korea's goal tally first.
|5 April 2000||Seoul||Laos||1 goal||9–0||2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification|
|7 April 2000||Seoul||Mongolia||1 goal||6–0||2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification|
|13 September 2001||Daejeon||Nigeria||1 goal||2–1||Friendly match|
|16 May 2002||Busan||Scotland||1 goal||4–1||Friendly match|
|8 September 2004||Ho Chi Minh City||Vietnam||1 goal||2–1||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|29 January 2006||Hong Kong||Croatia||1 goal||2–0||2006 Carlsberg Cup|
|22 February 2006||Aleppo||Syria||1 goal||2–1||2007 AFC Asian Cup qualification|
|13 June 2006||Frankfurt||Togo||1 goal||2–1||2006 FIFA World Cup|
|6 February 2007||London||Greece||1 goal||1–0||Friendly match|
|29 June 2007||Seogwipo||Iraq||1 goal||3–0||Friendly match|
Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i
- K League 1: 2005
- Korean League Cup: 2007
- Korean Super Cup: 2006
- A3 Champions Cup: 2006
Suwon Samsung Bluewings
South Korea U23
- K League 1 top assist provider: 2002
- K League 1 Young Player of the Year: 2002
- K League 1 Best XI: 2002, 2005
- Asian Young Footballer of the Year: 2002
- K League 1 Most Valuable Player: 2005
- A3 Champions Cup Most Valuable Player: 2006
- A3 Champions Cup top goalscorer: 2006
- AFC Asian Cup Team of the Tournament: 2007
- Korean Goal of the Year: 2007
|2021||Golden Eleven 2||tvN||Consultant|||
|Brad PT & GYM Carry||MBC Every1||Participant||with Shim Ha-eun|||
|2021||Ssangssang Invitational||Naver TV, YouTube||Cast Member|||
- Lee Chun-soo at Soccerway
- 박용호 은퇴, 이천수-최태욱 '부평고 전설의 3인방' 모두 떠났다 (in Korean). Sports-Q. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- "Lee Chun-soo's international statistics" (in Korean). KFA. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- [올림픽] 한국축구 모로코에 1:0 첫 승 (in Korean). Maeil Business Newspaper. 17 September 2000. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
- <대표팀결산:한국축구 내가 이끈다> ⑥이천수. Naver.com (in Korean). Yonhap News Agency. 1 July 2002. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- Lee Chun-soo – K League stats at kleague.com (in Korean)
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- 2005 삼성 하우젠 K리그 대상 열려, MVP에는 이천수. Naver.com (in Korean). Sportalkorea. 28 December 2005.
- 이천수 '해트트릭' K리그 기살렸다 (in Korean). The Hankyoreh. 6 August 2006. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
- "이천수! 환상적인 오른발 프리킥 동점골!" 2006년 독일 월드컵 토고전 (다시 보는 골장면) (in Korean). SBS. 6 June 2018. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- 이천수 축구인생 망친 사기사건 전말 (in Korean). Ilyo Shinmun. 16 August 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
- 이천수, 사우디 알 나스르에서 끝내 방출 (in Korean). Gyeonggi Ilbo. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
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"Official All-Star XI". BigSoccer. 18 August 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
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- Ahn Tae-hyun (15 September 2021). "축구 유망주 발굴 '골든일레븐' 시즌2로 돌아온다" ['Golden Eleven' to discover soccer prospects returns with season 2]. NEWS1 (in Korean). Retrieved 15 September 2021 – via Naver.
- Park Jin-hee (22 October 2021). "이천수-심하은, MBC에브리원 예능 '브래드PT&GYM캐리' 제작발표회" [Lee Cheon-soo and Shim Ha-eun, MBC Every1 entertainment 'Brad PT & GYM Carry' production presentation] (in Korean). Newsis. Retrieved 22 October 2021 – via Naver.
- Choi Na-young (9 December 2021). "김이나♥︎조영철→야옹이♥︎전선욱, 파격 예능 동반출격('쌍쌍 인비테이셔널')" [Ina Kim ♥︎ Jo Young-cheol → Meow ♥ ︎ Jeon Seon-wook, scramble for a special entertainment together ('Ssangsou Invitational')] (in Korean). OSEN. Retrieved 9 December 2021 – via Naver.