If Jong Tae-se is to be believed, North Korea will get their World Cup 2010 campaign off to a rousing start later today with victory over Brazil. The optimistic striker seems to think that Brazil's superior players and tournament experience will be no match for their "brave hearts and strong spirits," but unfortunately, the odds are stacked against the DPRK.
Tae-se has been famously dubbed North Korea's "Wayne Rooney," for his tenacious and aggressive approach, but the Sydney Morning Herald have revealed how he is much closer in personality and lifestyle to another of England's stars - David Beckham. And it's easy to see why: he's all about fancy haircuts and the glory of western consumerism, and not at all about tramp stamp tattoos and golf course incontinence.
[Photos: See more of Jong Tae-se]
Unlike the vast majority of the population in the oppressed and impoverished nation he represents, Tae-se enjoys rap music, he collects sneakers, he loves expensive cars and he changes his hairstyle at the drop of a penny (last week, he shocked Koreans by sporting gelled hair, then shocked them all a little bit more by shaving it all off).
He's also been impressing his team-mates, who are dazzled by the bright and shiny things he has purchased in the free market economy:
"He says he never travels without his iPod, laptop and Nintendo, much to the curiosity of team-mates from a country with only one state-run TV channel where such luxuries are reserved for top officials.
"Their games are simple: rock, scissors and paper are enough to send them into fits of shouts and laughter, he says. Teammates flock to his room during overseas matches, asking to listen to his music, play Super Mario, borrow his books or fluorescent Nike running shoes and hear about life in the J-League - including how much money he makes."
Tae-se - who was raised in Japan as a ‘zainichi' but now swears allegiance to Kim Jong Il - has also revealed his Beckham-esque metrosexual sensitive side, by admitting that South Korean soap opera 'Winter Sonata' made him cry "like a baby". (Actually, this is more like revealing his ‘slightly unhinged bored housewife' side, but we'll let him off.)
He also aspires to marry one of The Wonder Girls, who are Korea's answer to The Spice Girls. If he truly wants to follow the Beckham path, he'll settle down with the most robotic looking one who can't sing.
Ultimately, Tae-se hopes to win a contract at a major European club, and frankly, it would be a great thing. There's simply not enough players who obsess over cars, women and money in the European game. Oh wait...
- David Beckham
- North Korea
- Wayne Rooney