Vietnamese star Lee Nguyen told VnExpress about the stressful relationship with coach Kiatisuk in the past, the sadness of not being able to wear a Vietnamese shirt and the possibility of marrying a Vietnamese beauty in the future.
How are the New Year days of Lee Nguyen?
– I really love the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Since signing the contract with Ho Chi Minh City, I have been eagerly looking forward to this Tet. Like everyone else, I get about two weeks off. Due to Covid-19, I mostly stay at home with my relatives and friends, waiting for the new year together.
– How has Covid-19 affected Lee Nguyen in the past year?
– Covid-19 has changed many people’s lives and I am no exception. It was really hard times. For football players like me, it’s fortunate to still be able to play soccer and do what you love. Of course, it is sad to play on the field without the audience, not being able to share great moments with fans. But we have to look at reality and accept it. I hope football will soon return to the fans in the stands because football without fans is no longer itself, losing a lot of interest.
– Why are you successful in the US, did you decide to return to Vietnam?
– When Covid-19 happens, people have a slow time to live, find their own passions or reflect on their journey. It was during this time that I realized that I loved Vietnam. I miss the moments I played in the V-League, the football fans who love it so much. When Ho Chi Minh City made an offer, I immediately accepted because I knew I really wanted to return to play in Vietnam.
– Just three days after completing the quarantine period, Lee Nguyen started his debut match for Ho Chi Minh City in the V-League. How do you feel about this tournament? How do you rate the chances of Ho Chi Minh City’s championship this season?
I feel lucky and happy to have made my V-League debut this season, just before the suspension. Having only played one game but I also feel that the V-League is better than before. Fortunately in my debut, the team played well and got an important win at home.
I believe HCMC has a chance to win the V-League this year. But looking around, the opponents are strong and the championship story is not easy at all. To achieve this, we need to work hard together and compete, improving every week.
– He is a “blockbuster” contract in the V-League this year. How does that put pressure on you?
– I am extremely happy and honored to be trusted and signed a contract by the Ho Chi Minh City Club and the leaders. I will repay that with my performances on the field. I will work hard to bring victory to the club, to bring joy to the club’s fans. I really want to dedicate myself to Ho Chi Minh City, this is a very professionally organized club with great ambitions.
Is there any pressure? In any big club there is no such thing. There is only one way to get rid of the pressure, to win. When you win, everything is fine. Of course, doing is always more difficult than speaking. But I chose football not because it was a simple game. It is difficult to have a beast of its own.
In football age has important implications. So when he was 34, what difficulty did he face?
I feel myself very well right now. Good spirit, fitness is always full. I feel even better than when I was younger. At this rate I have been playing soccer for many years.
– Lee Nguyen has Vietnamese blood. However, because he was in the US team, he could no longer play for Vietnam. How do you regret this?
– I don’t want to say regret because everything is predestined. Of course, not being able to play for Vietnam also makes me sad. This place is also my hometown and I can feel how much the fans love the big team. I wish I had a chance to put on my shirt, bringing joy to Vietnamese fans.
Anyway, I’m happy because the fate brought me back to Vietnam to play for clubs. I love every moment I play here, and the experiences and lessons I have.
– Talking about experience, it is impossible not to mention that Lee Nguyen returned to Vietnam to kick for HAGL in 2009. You are the “quintet” contract of elected Duc, but the two sides did not succeed together. Why?
– I played well first season 2009 with 13 goals. And I think we’ve come very close to having a strong team, to win the championship, with just a few small pieces of the puzzle missing. Unfortunately, the team then changed their coach, losing some of their key players. The new coach has changed his philosophy and it is difficult to rebuild a strong team like before.
– The new coach was Kiatisuk. Many people said that Lee Nguyen left HAGL because of a conflict with him. What do you say about this rumor?
It was not a rumor, it was a fact. From the moment I left I made it clear because of the coach that I went. Kiatisuk and I do not share the same vision. I am also not on his plan. In football, when you are not being appreciated, you are not given the opportunity to do your best, you should go.
Many Vietnamese players are unsuccessful when they go abroad to play. Do you have any advice for them?
Of course, to be successful in a foreign country is extremely difficult. The most important thing is to always trust yourself, even if no one believes you. Going abroad, every day will be extremely difficult. You must believe in yourself, keep your fighting spirit, try to improve yourself every minute. The great rewards in life never come easy, we must understand that.
– What is Lee Nguyen’s favorite type of woman? What do you think about getting married to Vietnam?
My ideal type? I don’t care if she is Vietnamese or a foreigner. The key is to be beautiful, intelligent, confident, independent, and have a good sense of humor. I’m a joke person, so I really like girls who know how to make me laugh.
I count in Vietnam for a long time. I will try my best to be fluent in Vietnamese, communicate well with the girls here. Who knows, maybe I’ll find my partner here.