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 By Ben Gladwell

North Korean forward Han Kwang-Song makes history with Cagliari

Han Kwang-Song pictured during his Cagliari debut.

Editor's note: This story was edited after publication to reflect the fact that Jong Tae-Se, a Japan-born North Korea international, played for Cologne during their 2011-12 Bundesliga campaign.

Han Kwang-Song became the first North Korean to play in Serie A when he made his debut for Cagliari on Sunday.

Han, 18, played the final five minutes of the 3-1 win at Palermo after having impressed coach Massimo Rastelli since joining on trial in February.

The forward, a native of the North Korean capital Pyongyang, shone for his country at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and was then given a trial by Cagliari.

He was included in the club's youth team squad at the recent Viareggio tournament, impressing enough to be offered a contract.

"He's an extremely interesting player," La Repubblica reported Rastelli as saying.

"He's got great quality, he's really fast and since [Marco] Sau was exhausted and we were lacking forwards, I decided to throw him in and he made his contribution.

"He needs time to grow slowly. Han has really made a strong impression on us, particularly at Viareggio.

"He's hungry to make it and he's bound to get his chance between now and the end of the season. He's going to play and I think he's going to give us a lot of satisfaction."

Han's compatriot Choe Song-Hyok was signed by Fiorentina last year, but did not make a league appearance for them and is now a free agent.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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