Cha Bum-kun

Legendary Korea Footballer
  • Date of Birth
  • May 22, 1953
  • Place of Birth
  • Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, South Korea
  • Height
  • 1.79 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in)
  • Playing Position
  • Striker/Winger

Cha Bum-kun (Hangul: 차범근; Korean pronunciation: [tɕʰabʌmɡɯn]; born 22 May 1953) is a South Korean football manager and former player, nicknamed Tscha Bum in Germany (“Cha Boom”) because of his name and his thunderous ball striking ability. The nickname was first used by the German Kicker Magazine, which also named Cha as one of the greatest footballers of the 1980s. Cha was born in Hwaseong in the South Korean province of Gyeonggi. By 1972 he had been capped by the Korean national team as the youngest player in history called up to the squad. After developing into the top player in his country, Cha wanted to play in Germany’s Bundesliga. Cha promised to learn skills in Germany and help Korea advance in football. He eventually rose to international stardom and fulfilled his promise by coming back to South Korea after his retirement and starting youth football clinics. He coached the national team in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and also Ulsan Hyundai and Suwon Samsung Bluewings of the K League. In South Korea, Cha is greatly respected for his accomplishments in the Bundesliga and the South Korean national team. During his career, Cha has played for SV Darmstadt 98,Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and represented his national side 135 times, scoring 58 goals. He was given the title Asia’s Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. He is the all time leading goal scorer for the South Korean national team.


Cha became famous when he was a Kyungshin High School FC player in 1970 and in the same year he became a Korean U-20 international. In 1972, Cha entered Korea University. After graduation, he started senior career with Seoul Trust Bank FC in 1976. In October 1976, he joined South Korean Air Force FC due to military service.[4]

He attracted the attention of Friedel Rausch while playing for the national team and he began his career in the Bundesliga at age twenty-five, after he had completed the compulsory military training for all South Korean men. He was widely considered one of the best forwards in the Bundesliga throughout his career. In December 1978, he was transferred to SV Darmstadt 98, where he spent just less 1 months before being snapped up by Eintracht Frankfurt. Due to Cha’s complicated military service problem, After only debut match with VfL Bochum on 30 December 1978, Cha returned to South Korea in 5 January 1979 and he spent his spare military service duration until 31 May 1979 and had didn’t play for SV Darmstadt 98.[5]

After being discharged from the military service completely, Cha joined Eintracht Frankfurt in July 1976. Cha made an immediate impact with his new club, scoring in three consecutive games. Frankfurt went on to win the UEFA Cup in the 1979–80 season and Cha was awarded Man of the Match in the final. He became the third-highest-paid footballer in Germany. In the 1981 season, he suffered a near career-ending knee injury in a game against Leverkusen, an incident that nearly led to a riot by Frankfurt fans. Cha recovered in time for the German Cup Final, where he scored a goal in Frankfurt’s 3–1 victory. However he would transfer to Bayer Leverkusen in 1983. He won a second UEFA Cup with them in 1988. Cha scored a dramatic equaliser against Espanyol to tie the game 3–3. Leverkusen eventually went on to win the game on penalties, their first major tournament victory.

Cha retired in 1989 after a long Bundesliga career spanning 308 games in which he scored 98 goals (none from penalty kicks),[6] then the highest for a foreign player in the league. Over his 10-year career, he received only one yellow card.