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Choi Sung-kuk
Choi Sung-Kuk.jpg
Choi with Suwon Samsung Bluewings in 2011
Personal information
Full name Choi Sung-kuk
Date of birth (1983-02-08) 8 February 1983 (age 41)
Place of birth Seoul, South Korea
Height 1.72 m
Playing position Second striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2006 Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i 84 (10)
2005 Kashiwa Reysol (loan) 8 (0)
2007–2010 Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 49 (7)
2009–2010 → Gwangju Sangmu (draft) 48 (13)
2011 Suwon Samsung Bluewings 12 (1)
Total 201 (31)
National team
1997–1998 South Korea U17 6 (2)
1999–2003 South Korea U20 20 (12)
2001–2006 South Korea U23 40 (3)
2002–2011 South Korea 26 (2)
Representing  South Korea
Men's football
AFC Asian Cup
Bronze 2007 Indonesia/Malaysia
Asian Games
Bronze 2002 Busan Team
AFC Youth Championship
Gold 2002 Qatar Team
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Choi Sung-kuk
Hangul 최성국
Hanja 崔成國
Revised Romanization Choe Seong-Guk
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Sŏngguk

Choi Sung-kuk (born 8 February 1983) is a former South Korean footballer who played as a second striker. He was banned by FIFA from all football-related activities because of his involvement in match fixing.

Early life

Born in Seoul, Choi began playing football at Donggok Elementary School. While he played for Jeongmyeong High School, his talent earned him a nickname of "Korean Maradona". After graduated from high school, Choi attended Korea University for two years.

Club career

Choi joined K League club Ulsan Hyundai Horang-I on 27 February 2003. He adapted quickly to the professional league, scoring seven goals in his debut season. He was nominated for the K League Rookie of the Year award, but lost out to Jung Jo-gook.

In his second season, Choi couldn't concentrate on his club by playing for Olympic team, and scored only one goal during 19 league appearances. He was loaned out to J1 League club Kashiwa Reysol ahead of the 2005 season, but didn't make the reversal of his flow for five months.

Choi became the top goalscorer in the 2006 Korean League Cup, showing his improvement the next year. He also left a memorable game against Al-Shabab in the 2006 AFC Champions League, where he led Ulsan to a 6–0 victory by destroying opponents' defense as well as scoring two goals. He moved to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma after the 2006 season.

Choi went on a trial at Championship side Sheffield United after the end of the 2007 season, but the club decided against signing him. Choi who remained in his country participated in the 2008 Jomo Cup contested between all-star teams of K League and J.League. He led K League to a 3–1 win by having a goal and an assist in the Jomo Cup and was selected as the MVP of the match. In December 2008, Choi enlisted in military football team Gwangju Sangmu to fulfill his military duty.

Choi moved to Suwon Samsung Bluewings prior to the 2011 season, signing a three–year contract. Shortly after, he was announced as the new captain for Suwon. However, Choi was implicated in match-fixing scandal while playing for Gwangju Sangmu. He denied his involvement when media reports raised the allegations about throwing matches, but soon admitted it as the scandal deepened. Consequently, he was tentatively dropped from his team and stripped of his captaincy.

It was officially announced in August 2011 that he would not be able to play in all leagues in South Korea permanently. It was announced that Choi would join Macedonian club Rabotnički on 16 January 2012, but following investigation, FIFA imposed on him a lifelong ban from all sports. His move fell through after the Football Federation of Macedonia rejected his registration.

International career

While at Jeongmyeong High School, Choi was called up to South Korean under-17 team for the 1998 AFC U-16 Championship, and scored two goals in six appearances.

Choi was selected for South Korean under-23 team for the 2002 Asian Games, helping his team finish third. He then won the 2002 AFC Youth Championship with South Korean under-20 team.

In March 2003, Choi was called up to the senior national team for the first time, and made his debut in a 0–0 draw against Colombia. He scored his first senior international goal in a 1–0 victory over Oman in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification. He then played for the under-20 team in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship despite suffering an injury. He got only two caps in the tournament, but was selected as one of twelve notable players by FIFA.

Choi also participated in the 2004 Summer Olympics, where South Korea reached the quarter-finals.

Choi was called up to South Korea's squad for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. He scored a goal in the opening match against Saudi Arabia. South Korea finished third in the tournament after beating Japan in the third place play-off.

Personal life

Choi's mother Kim Jae-young was an artistic gymnast, and Choi's father was also a field hockey player while at school. His father who worked as a bus driver couldn't become an adult player, but taught him to be unassuming. In December 2005, Choi was married Kwak Seon-hye, and became a father a year later.

Choi is a devout Christian.

It was reported on 9 February 2012 that Choi was sentenced on probation for two years and 200 hours of social services for ten months as a result of his actions, relating to match fixing.

Following an end to his professional football career, Choi was hired to work in the hospital as a clerk. He acknowledged that since his football career ended, his family began to struggle economically.

In April 2016, Choi was hired as a commentator for sports website Spoplay.

Seven years later after his professional football career came to an end, he spoke out in an interview about his role to match fixing.

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National cup League cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i 2003 K League 27 7 0 0 27 7
2004 K League 19 1 4 3 0 0 23 4
2005 K League 16 1 1 0 0 0 17 1
2006 K League 22 1 1 0 13 8 4 4 40 13
Total 84 10 6 3 13 8 4 4 107 25
Kashiwa Reysol 2005 J1 League 8 0 0 0 4 0 12 0
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 2007 K League 27 3 0 0 1 0 8 3 36 6
2008 K League 18 4 2 0 8 3 28 7
2010 K League 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 7 1
Total 49 7 2 0 9 3 11 4 71 14
Gwangju Sangmu (draft) 2009 K League 26 9 0 0 2 0 28 9
2010 K League 22 4 3 1 2 0 27 5
Total 48 13 3 1 4 0 55 14
Suwon Samsung Bluewings 2011 K League 12 1 1 1 0 0 6 0 19 2
Career total 201 31 12 5 30 11 21 8 264 55


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
South Korea 2003 4 1
2004 4 0
2005 3 0
2006 3 0
2007 7 1
2008 3 0
2010 1 0
2011 1 0
Career total 26 2
Results list South Korea's goal tally first.
List of international goals scored by Choi Sung-kuk
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 27 September 2003 Incheon, South Korea  Oman 1–0 1–0 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification
2 11 July 2007 Jakarta, Indonesia  Saudi Arabia 1–0 1–1 2007 AFC Asian Cup


Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i

  • K League 1: 2005
  • Korean Super Cup: 2006
  • A3 Champions Cup: 2006
  • Korean League Cup runner-up: 2005

Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma

South Korea U20

  • AFC Youth Championship: 2002

South Korea U23

  • Asian Games bronze medal: 2002

South Korea


  • Korean FA Cup top goalscorer: 2001
  • Korean League Cup top goalscorer: 2006
  • K League All-Star Game Most Valuable Player: 2008

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Choi Sung-kuk para niños

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