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Kim Nam-il or Kim Namil ( ; born 14 March 1977) is a South Korean footballer. Kim is a defensive midfielder for Vissel Kobe in the japanesemarker J-League. He was virtually unknown before he became a superstar for his impressive defensive displays in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.



Kim Nam-Il began playing soccer in 3rd grade in grade school. His decision to play soccer was initially met with opposition from his parents because of his impressive academic performance.

Formerly an unimpressive attacking midfielder, Guus Hiddink converted Kim into an international-class holding midfielder by utilising his defensive talents, being named to the best XI of the 2002 Gold Cup under his tutelage.

2002 FIFA World Cup

Kim became a star in 2002 because of his performance in 2002 FIFA World Cup. Kim was nicknamed the "The Vacuum Cleaner" from his peers for his clean tackling and aggressiveness to 'sweep' his zone of any balls.

Kim Nam-Il Syndrome

The term "Kim Nam-Il Syndrome" began to be coined by tabloids to describe Kim's superstardom status. During the 2002 World Cup, he gained an unusually large female fan base, led to sold-out matches and goodies, and caused a sudden increase in Chunnam Dragons's popularity. Kim, a former unknown to the public, then became highly desirable by numerous endorsement companies that were eager to pay high amounts of money. Many TV programs had asked, or pressured at times for, Kim to appear, but Kim rejected their offers, and appeared only on interviews instead.

He also became notorious for his frank and eccentric personality. Quotes of Kim during the Interviews surfaced on the internet, such as "Hey, Myung Bo, let's eat," (명보야 밥먹자) referring to Hong Myung Bo who is eight years his senior.

Post-2002 World Cup

After the World Cup, Kim briefly played on loan for Excelsior, a Dutch football club, hoping he would get an opportunity to play for Feyenoord, where Song Chong-Gug used to play for at the time. Unfortunately, Kim's contract expired before he could make a strong impression, and had no choice but to come back to Korea to play for Chunnam Dragons, where he used to play for before 2002 Football World Cup.

Kim's transfer to Suwon Bluewings in 2005 caused quite a controversy when traded for not one, but two athletes. One of the athletes who were traded for Kim was Ko Jong-Soo who was once a star player of the team for a very long time.

2006 World Cup

Overcoming an injury in his right foot, Kim made a comeback in late 2005 and quickly re-established his position in the national team and consequently won a place in the South Korean squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

In 2006, he said that he had given up his hope of playing for a football club in Europe, and wants to be "a legend of K-League who will be remembered by his fans forever."

In August 2006, he was chosen as the captain of the Korean national football team inheriting the title from Lee Woon-Jae.


In March 2007, Kim recently suffered a neck injury during a match against Busan I'Park. Suwon Samsung won the match 1-0 and set a record for 200 wins in the least number of games.

Move to Japan

In 2008 he moved to Japanmarker to play for J. League side Vissel Kobe. He played 31 league games and scored 1 goal in his first season in Japan. His team finished in 10th place.

Personal life

Kim is the youngest of the three brothers in his family, and is a close friend of Lee Kwan-Woo and Lee Dong-Gook.

Since 2006, there had been rumours about his relationship with anchorwoman Kim Bo-Min eventually leading to the possibility of his marriage. The question was raised once again when a netizen posted a picture of a woman who he claimed was Kim Bo-Min at Suwon World Cup Stadium. The woman was wearing a hat and a light green scarf that covered about half of her face.

Both Kim Bo-Min and Kim Nam-Il neither confirmed nor denied the allegation. In an interview with a woman's magazine, the footballer's parents have stated that they have heard from their son that they are romantically involved, but did not hear about marriage. In June 2007, the couple secretly became engaged and revealed that they had met three years ago.

Club career statistics

International goals

Results list Korea Republic's goal tally first.




Suwon Bluewings


  1. 김남일 프리즘 공부잘해 처음엔 축구 만류
  2. 전남, 김남일 `특별 관리`
  3. "김남일 덕 우리도 좀 보자" 인기폭발
  4. K-리그 김남일 `태풍`
  5. "협박해도 김남일 방송출연 NO"
  6. 김남일 "명보야 밥먹자"
  7. [사진목 부상으로 이송되는 김남일]
  8. 김보민이 수원 월드컵경기장에 나타났다?
  9. 김남일 부모 “김보민 아나운서와 올해 결혼 없지만 내년쯤 기대”
  10. 약혼 김보민 아나 "3년전부터 만났어요" 고백

External links

2000 Chunnam Dragons K-League 20 0 ? ? 10 1 -
2001 25 0 ? ? 0 0 -
2002 14 0 ? ? 1 0 -

2002-03 Excelsior Eredivisie 8 0 0 0 - -

2003 Chunnam Dragons K-League 23 6 0 0 - - 23 6
2004 10 1 2 0 0 0 - 12 1
2005 Suwon Bluewings 2 0 3 2 4 0 ? ?
2006 23 0 4 0 3 0 - 30 0
2007 20 0 1 0 8 0 - 29 0

2008 Vissel Kobe J. League Division 1 31 1 1 0 1 0 - 33 1
2009 2 0 -
Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
November 10, 2001 Seoulmarker 1 goal 2-0 Friendly match
July 31, 2004 Jinanmarker 1 goal 3-4 2004 AFC Asian Cup

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