Kim Yeon-kyung’s last dance… 8 games are too short

The V-League is buzzing. It is news that스포츠토토 ‘Volleyball Empress’ Kim Yeon-kyung (35) is contemplating her retirement. What is the best scenario for players, fans, and the volleyball world?  

Heungkuk Life Insurance fans laughed and cried on the 15th. This is because Kim Yeon-kyung left the possibility of retirement open, although he won the home game against Pepper Savings Bank and climbed to the top of the league alone (21 wins, 7 losses, 63 points) for the first time in the season.  

In an interview with reporters after the game, Kim Yeon-kyung conveyed her position on the recent retirement rumors and said, “It would be a lie if I said I had no intention of retiring. But nothing has been decided yet. . 

The background of retirement concerns that Kim Yeon-kyung directly conveyed was no different from any other star player. Because when he was at the top, he wanted to end his career with honor. He said, “It depends on each player’s thoughts, but I like to come down when I am in a high position.”  

As of the 16th, Kim Yeon-kyung is ranked 1st (46.02%) and 5th in scoring (530 points) in the women’s division in the 2022-23 season. Although he is in his mid-30s, it is difficult to pick a better striker than him in the current V-League. Compared to her heyday when she was on the stage in Europe and China, her aging curve is not felt.  

Lee Dae-ho, who was a professional baseball player, won the Golden Glove (designated hitter category) given to the best player by position in the last season (2022), which he spent announcing his retirement. Players, coaches, and fans all couldn’t convince him to leave, as he still maintained top-level skills in the league. Aside from friendship, Lee Dae-ho’s appearance may have had some influence on Kim Yeon-kyung’s state of mind. It seems that not only Lee Dae-ho, but other sports players such as Pak Se-ri and Kim Yu-na referred to it as an example.  

Kim Yeon-kyung competed with the world’s best players through the Turkish and Chinese leagues. The standards for evaluating his skills and performance may be stricter than those of other players, fans, and the media. He is said to be ranked at the top of each indicator in the V-League, and it is said that it is impossible to guarantee whether Kim Yeon-kyung will be satisfied. He is Kim Yeon-kyung, who wants to end his career at the top. He doesn’t want to feel like he’s less than his prime.  

The issue of contracts that represent the value of professional players is also complicated. Lee Dae-ho also had a tug-of-war over a period of time during the contract renewal negotiations ahead of the 2021 season, and eventually announced his retirement after agreeing on a shorter two-year extension than fans expected. Lotte would not have been able to sign a long-term contract for more than three years with a player in their 40s at our age without hesitation.  

Kim Yeon-kyung’s case is a little different. There was no V-League club that could match the salary he received from European clubs anyway. He’s saying that money wasn’t a priority for him anyway, just because he was playing in the V-League. In 2020, when he first returned to the V-League, he even cut his salary himself, fearing that he would join and have problems with the salary cap (salary cap).  

He’s a professional sport driven by business logic, but there are other players who add value. Perhaps the factor that determines Kim Yeon-kyung’s retirement is that he is ultimately looking for a reason to play more in the V-League. 

Kim Yeon-kyung showed the highest level of skills on the world stage, and he gave pride to Koreans as well as volleyball fans. The 2022-23 V-League regular league only has 8 games left. If this season is the last, the time and number of games to see Kim Yeon-kyung’s last dance is too short.   

Of course, if he thinks he needs to ‘step back from the top’ to take on new challenges, such as being an International Olympic Committee (IOC) athlete member and broadcasting, he may have already made up his mind. But if he’s still thinking about it, he’ll have to find the most ideal way to break up. So that volleyball fans can support him with a heavy heart and be with him at the end. 

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