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'He's Coming'... Will '700 Million Dollar Man' Ohtani Be Popular

Shohei Ohtani (LA Dodgers), one of the world's leading professional sports superstars beyond the Major League, will land in Korea. With much attention paid to Ohtani's visit to Korea, attention is focusing on whether he will be able to surpass Cristiano Ronaldo's popularity during his visit to Korea in 2019.

Ohtani will enter the country through Incheon Airport on the afternoon of the 15th.

This is Ohtani's first visit to Korea in 12 years. Ohtani came to Korea in September 2012 to participate in the World Youth Baseball Championship. Considered a top prospect at the time, Ohtani impressed people by throwing fastballs at speeds of nearly 160 km/h in the competition. Japan lost to Korea in the fifth and sixth place finishers and finished the competition in sixth place.

About 12 years later, Ohtani's status has soared beyond baseball to one of the best in the world. He is also a great performer, playing both pitcher and batter perfectly in the Major League, where the world's top players gather. Ohtani came to the market after the 2023 season to appreciate his value and signed a 10-year mega deal with the Dodgers. It was the largest contract in professional sports history. The previous record was Lionel Messi's 674 million-dollar contract with FC Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Liga.

Already, many fans are expected to flock to the airport for the superstar's visit to Korea. The airport is also on high alert for Ohtani's visit. An airport official explained, "There will be much more security personnel than usual in preparation for Ohtani's visit to Korea."

There have been cases before where a player with a similar reputation as Ohtani visited Korea. Most recently, soccer player Ronaldo's visit to Korea in 2019.

At that time, countless fans flocked to the airport to see Ronaldo. A huge crowd filled the airport from the first floor to the second floor. And when Ronaldo appeared, many fans cheered loudly. It was a part that showed Ronaldo's status.

Of course, Ronaldo completely trampled on those expectations. He did not play in matches against Team K-League or Team Juventus, which were scheduled to participate at the time. Many fans who visited Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul to see Ronaldo poured their anger on him. In the end, Ronaldo was nicknamed "No Show Do" by Korean fans after the incident.

Unlike Ronaldo, Ohtani has a reputation for outstanding fan service. He also has a deep love for Korea. On the 13th, Ohtani posted a picture of himself posing with a Korean-style hand heart with the Korean national flag on his SNS account. Although his official schedule in Korea has not yet begun, he was able to get a glimpse of his love for his Korean fans.
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Thursday, March 14, 2024
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