Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, who arrived in Korea on Monday for a friendly match with Brazil, said he will visit former national team manager Choi Kang-hee and apologize to him directly for disparaging remarks the player made on his Facebook account.
The remarks became public knowledge after Ki's account was leaked in July, which subjected him to intense criticism from football fans. In response, Ki issued an apology through his agent, but it did little to assuage fans’ anger.
"This is a matter I had to apologize [to Choi] for no matter what, but it got delayed as I thought that it was better to do it face-to-face," a stony-faced Ki told reporters upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport.
"I've had a tough time during the last couple of months. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to make time for an apology earlier, as a lot of other things were going on, including my transfer to another club. But now I want to meet Choi in person and offer him my sincerest apologies."
Current manager Hong Myung-bo selected Ki for the national squad last month after wrapping up his trip to England to check on Korean players in Europe. This means he could feature in two upcoming friendlies against Brazil on Saturday and Mali on Oct. 15.
"If Ki fails to show his genuine penitence, such as apologizing to Choi in person, it will be very difficult to pick him for the national team again," Hong said.
Earlier, the manager tried to help mend fences between the two, but Choi declined. "There is no need for that now as three months have already passed [since the insults came to light]," he reportedly told Hong.
Ki's wife, actress Han Hye-jin, arrived in Korea with Ki on Monday but opted to leave the airport through a different gate.