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PersonalFullname: Cha Du-Ri
aka: Du-Ri Cha, "The Cha"
Born: 25 July 1980
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Signed: 2 July 2010
Left: 8 June 2012
Position: Right-Back, Wing-back, Defender
Debut: Braga 3-0 Celtic, European Cup, 28 July 2010
Squad No.: 11
Internationals: South Korea (Korea Republic)
International Caps: 61 [up to Aug 2011]
International Goals: 4 [needs updating at end of career]
(Note: "Cha" is actually his surname, but he is commonly known by that name)
Cha Du-Ri joined Celtic in July 2010 becoming Celtic's second Korean player after Ki Sung-Yong. Although Korean, Cha has strong links with Germany being born there while his father, Cha Bum-Kun (widely recognised as South Korea's greatest ever player), played for Eintracht Frankfurt, and would later return to Germany as a player between 2002 and 2010 playing for Bayer Leverkusen, Arminia Bielefeld, Eintracht Frankfurt, Mainz 05, TuS Koblenz and SC Freiburg.
Cha began his career in Korea, playing for Korea University from 1999 to 2002, as a striker and noted for being pacey, aggressive and strong. During this time he gained his first cap for the national side in 2001 and would form part of Gus Hiddink's squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea.
Following the 2002 World Cup, Cha moved to Germany after being signed by one of his father's old clubs, Bayer Leverkusen. However he did not make the impact his father had, never making a first team appearance for them instead being loaned first to Arminia Bielefeld for the 2002-03 season, and then another of his father old club's Eintracht Frankfurt for 2003/04. These loan spells were more successful, with Eintracht Frankfurt making his loan spell permanent in summer of 2004. Cha would go on to make 58 appearances and score 11 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt over the next two seasons but this was not enough to play himself into South Korea's squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The summer of 2006 would bring further change for Cha, with a move to Mainz 05 and switch of positions to right full back. This move was unsuccessful with injury limiting Cha to just 12 appearances while Mainz were relegated to Bundesliga 2. Mainz terminated his contract after only one season.
Cha would then go on to sign for TuS Koblenz, playing there for two seasons before agreeing to transfer to SC Freiburg in the summer of 2009. After 23 games for Freiburg in the 2009/10 season he agreed a free transfer to Celtic in July 2010. In 2009 he was also recalled to the South Korea squad for the first time since 2006, and would go on to play in 3 of South Korea's 4 games at the World Cup in South Africa.
At Celtic he took advantage of the season-ending knee injury to Andreas Hinkel to initially establish himself as first choice right back. He quickly gained a reputation as a full back happiest when marauding forward on the right flank, with his defensive abilities a little more suspect.
He scored a crucial late goal in the home league game against St.Johnstone on 26th December 2010. After a run of nervy performances and three draws at home against Dundee Utd, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Kilmarnock, Rangers were opening a gap at the top of the SPL and with our next fixture at Ibrox the season looked to be heading in the wrong direction. A fourth successive home draw looked to be on the cards with the score still 0-0 after 90 minutes. However 15 seconds into injury time Cha picked up the ball just outside the top right-hand corner of the box, stepped inside the defender and lashed the ball into the top left corner of the net to score an incredible goal. The relief and exhilaration of everyone - players, management and fans - was palpable as the entire team rushed to celebrate with the bench. Cha milked it with a brilliant celebration getting a yellow card for his worthy efforts, but the support loved it and lapped it up. Confidence was so boosted that Ki would go on to add a second injury time goal to seal a 2 - 0 win.
The corner was turned and Celtic would go on to win by the same scoreline at Ibrox a week later. However for Cha it was the high mark of his time at Celtic and there was little better from there on in.
That injury time goal from Cha was to be a turning point of the 2010 -11 season, and although Celtic would fall agonisingly short of the title they went on to regularly produce the typre of performances which had the fans fans proclaiming that they just can't get enough. However that goal would Cha's last significant involvement with Celtic that campaign. Soon afterwards he travelled to Qatar, along with Ki, as part of South Korea's squad for the 2011 Asian Cup which would reach the semi-final before losing on penalties to eventual winners Japan. Cha would captain South Korea in the 3 - 2 victory over Uzbekistan in the Third Place Play-off.
By the time he returned to Scotland a re-invigorated Mark Wilson was back in the right-back berth and enjoying the form of his Celtic career. Cha couldn't dislodge the impressive Wilson and would spend most of the remainder of the campaign on the bench. He did so without complaint and as Celtic lifted the Scottish Cup in May it was great to witness a euphoric Cha join in the celebrations.
The following season was little better. Still smiling as ever that enigmatic grin, he managed more appearances with Mark Wilson back on the physio's table for practically the whole season. Still this time he had competition in the form of Adam Matthews, with only Cha's age being the only asset. However, he was given a place when there was little other choice, but didn't cover himself in glory with two daft moments standing out. First was a silly pass in the UEFA Cup match away to Rennes (Oct 2011) created an own goal. It was very embarrassing for him as much as all others.We were much in control and would have got a much needed away win. It was clumsy and avoidable. Second, was in the final away match to the Huns (March 2012) where he got himself sent-off. Granted it was harsh and most wouldn't have given it but it cost us where otherwise at just 1-0 down we could have come back into the game to win. Didn't help his case at all, and there were fewer and fewer people over time wanting to keep him on once the summer was to start.
Cha was a likeable character, and always played with a cheeky smile on his face, and seemed to keep spirits up with all in the team (whether he is playing or not). Not since Dion Dublin had there been as cheery a person, but that isn't why he was signed and on the pitch had been a bit of a disappointment. With little competition for the right-back spot he managed to get games he otherwise didn't deserve. His defensive abilities were suspect, and he probably was better going forward (so more of a wing-back). Maybe he would have been better placed as a midfielder but not at Celtic where already we had a glut of quality midfielders.
On 8 June 2012, it was announced that he was going back to Germany, for Bundesliga new boys Fortuna Düsseldorf. He was out of contract and a new challenge was best for him.
Likeable character but not a great footballer, and will be overall remembered fondly for that wonderful winner v St Johnstone but cringingly also for that own-goal v Rennes. We hope him the best, and he left us with a nice sending off message (via a long twitter message) which we can all respect:
"After announcement regarding my transfer to new club, I received so many messages of celebration from my celtic fan. I really appreciate your messages, all you guys. Past 2 years, it was really happy time for me. Because i was the member of top club in the world and be with best mates. Yes, I was not top player but i always did my best for my best club when chances were given. I want to say my compliment again to my celtic suppoters for their support to me. Also. I want to appreciate My manager Neil Lennon for giving me a chance to play in best club in the world. With all my heart, I pray for celtic to make good new season. Also wherever will it be, I support Celtic. Thank you and cheerio."
AnecdotesWhen he's not appearing at right back for Celtic, or scoring unfortunate own-goals in Europe, Cha Du-Ri found a sideline career. He became a bit of a star in his home country of South Korea with a starring role in various TV adverts one showing how taking some tablets, seemingly for the liver, can boost your desire to tackle mundane, household tasks.
One advert saw our multi-talented defender singing a cheesy tune that was to become so popular that it was released domestically as a single! The lyrics for the song include the lines “Because of the liver, Because of the tired liver.”
The single helped raise funds for charity and for that we can respect. Bizarre sideline. Adds to the jovial image he has in general....
|APPEARANCES||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
Honours with Celtic:
Scottish Premier League:
Quotes"Good Luck to Cha Du-Ri, the latest replica jersey salesman. Nah, only kidding. The vastly experienced South Korean defender will be a welcome addition at Parkhead. Mind you, I don`t see Hoopy the Huddle Hound accepting an invite to any of his barbecues."
Tam Cowan (Daily Record) gives the new player a warm Scottish welcome with a crude racial joke (sic!) (July 2010)
South Korea's 'human weapon' Cha joins CelticReuters - July 3, 2010, 10:55 pm
LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - South Korean World Cup defender Cha Du-ri has signed for Celtic on a two-year deal, the Glasgow club said.
Manager Neil Lennon's second signing of the summer was subject to a work permit and has an option for a third year, Celtic said on their website (www.celticfc.net).
The 29-year-old Cha, who played in three of South Korea's World Cup games before they were knocked out by Uruguay in the last 16, has been dubbed 'human weapon' for his habit of injuring opponents, team mates and coaches in training sessions and games.
Cha moves to Scotland after playing for Freiburg in Germany last season. Celtic, Scottish champions 42 times, had a disappointing 2009-10 season and finished six points behind city rivals Rangers.
"I am excited about playing for Celtic and living in Glasgow," the BBC quoted him as saying.
"Celtic are a big club and have a good chance of winning trophies and I really want to play in a Glasgow derby," added the converted forward.
"Even in Germany, people talk about the Old Firm game, so to actually play in one would be amazing."
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