Some K League players are so synonymous with their current clubs that it is hard to imagine them playing for another team. Some even played for their current team's rivals. Others, meanwhile, have had storied careers and so it would be easy to forget that they might have a short stint at another team. In this next installment of Changing Allegiances, we take a look at Hong Jeong-ho, Lee Chang-min, Wanderson, and Ha Chang-rae.
It'd be hard to imagine Hong Jeong-ho, as the skipper of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, and the 2021 K League 1 MVP playing for another K League club. The centre back, of course, spent several years overseas, first with Augsburg in Germany and then Jiangsu Suning in China. But his professional career actually began with Jeju United in 2010. In his debut season, Hong played 16 times in the league, scoring one and assisting one, and also featured in the FA Cup and K League Cup. The following year he turned out for Jeju in the AFC Champions League but his performances for the islanders caught the eye of Bundesliga side Augsburg and he was transferred to Germany in 2013.
K League Club History: Jeju United, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Honours: K League 1 (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), Korean FA Cup (2020, 2022)
K League Apps: 189
Current Jeju United midfielder Lee Chang-min has been with the club since 2016 and has racked up over 200 appearances for the islanders. But, some fans will be forgiven for forgetting that Lee's first professional appearance came in the red of Gyeongnam FC in 2014 where he was on loan from Bucheon FC 1995. Lee never actually made a league appearance for Bucheon and went out on loan to Jeonnam Dragons in 2015 before Jeju signed him in January 2016.
K League Club History: Bucheon FC 1995, Gyeongnam FC, Jeonnam Dragons, Jeju United
Honours: K League 2 (2020)
K League Apps: 246
Brazilian utility man Wanderson has had a number of different spells in K League having left and come back again a number of times. While he has played for four different K League clubs, the 33-year-old is most known for his time with Pohang Steelers, his current club, where he has had three different spells. He has also played for Jeonnam Dragons and Jeju United but his K League career actually began with Daejeon Citizen in 2015 where he played 35 times and scored 15 goals across two seasons, the first in K League 1 and second in K League 2 following the Purples' relegation.
K League Club History: Daejeon Citizen, Jeju United, Pohang Steelers, Jeonnam Dragons
K League Apps: 163
Ha Chang-rae is approaching a century of appearances for his current club Pohang Steelers and is expected to be an important part of Kim Gi-dong's team in 2023. The centre back has been with Pohang since 2018 and, other than an 18-month spell with Gimcheon Sangmu for military service, has been there ever since. His career actually began with Incheon United, though, where he made 21 appearances for the Durumi during the 2017 season. His impressive displays helped keep Incheon in the league and earned him the move to the Steelyard.
K League Club History: Incheon United, Pohang Steelers, Gimcheon Sangmu
K League Apps: 106