Is “Player 9″ Cho Gue Sung’s New Hairstyle Problematic? Netizens Are Divided

Netizens’ reactions are mixed over the soccer player’s new look.

Korean soccer star Cho Gue Sung (also known as “Player 9”) became the internet’s unanimous celebrity crush during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. 

Cho Gue Sung | Elle

Yet, his new look has warranted mixed reactions.


While Cho Gue Sung is part of the South Korea national team, he currently plays as a striker for Danish Superliga club Midtjylland. Social media accounts for FC Midtjylland updated, revealing Cho Gue Sung’s new look, and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen of him before.

Lately, Cho Gue Sung has been rocking long locks. So, with his hair grown out, he has worn headbands.

It’s different from the short, clean-cut look many met him with. Yet, he proved that he looks handsome either way!

Now, Cho Gue Sung debuted a totally new hairstyle, utilizing his long hair. He now has it braided.

The comment section is filled with netizens of all nationalities, mainly soccer fans, who have mixed reactions. Some think the look “goes hard,” while others are asking, “What the hell?”

Don’t :(

— @dhsauno/X

It’s mainly Black netizens who have expressed their dismay over Cho Gue Sung’s new hairstyle. Many were disappointed that their once soccer crush has now partaken in cultural appropriation.

Cho Gue Sung’s hair is not just braided. It’s technically cornrows that hold historical significance in Black history.

Cornrows helped enslaved Africans put up small acts of rebellion and resistance by not only allowing them to keep their heritage close, but also providing a discreet way to transfer information. Cornrows soon became used as a way for slaves to secretly communicate with one another.

— Beds SU

Still, many netizens defended Cho Gue Sung’s new hairstyle, saying he is free to do what he wants. Regardless, a lot of fans hope it’s temporary.

On the other hand, several Korean netizens recognized, like Black netizens, that the hairstyle is not the best choice for Cho Gue Sung’s hair type. Many Koreans also made remarks about him “adapting” to other cultures, referring to him as a “gyopo”  (교포/僑胞, also spelled kyopo, meaning “nationals”), which has come to have negative connotations as referring to people who, as a result of living as sojourners outside the “home country,” have lost touch with their Korean roots.

| theqoo
  • 226. But wait, don’t Black people f*cking hate this?
  • 227. I think it’s less problematic among athletes? It’s not like how non-Black vocalists and other artists get a lot of hate for wearing Black hairstyles.
  • 228. This is Cho Gue Sung for real? Not his twin or something?!
  • 229. Okay, but we have to admit he looks hot AF when he’s on the field playing.
  • 230. He adapted to the local culture real fast, didn’t he?
  • 271. I think he has a very unique style… based on this and how he dressed that one time. And it’s only upsetting to fans who only like him for his visuals.
  • 272. Yikes…
  • 273. Looks painful for the scalp. Doesn’t it?
  • 274. He looks like a gyopo*.
  • 275. He’ll lose some fans over this, but they’ll be the ones who want to treat him like an idol. I feel like he might want that.
  • 276. Haaland also braids his hair like that often, I think. Let him do whatever he wants.

Again, some Korean netizens were supportive, saying he pulled it off well. Others also said it was okay since he is a soccer player, not an actor or idol.

  • 299. Doesn’t matter as long as he plays well. I mean, sure. He must know he’s good-looking, so he goes around trying all kinds of styles. But he’s young. He can do whatever he wants. Haha.
  • 300. Reggae, reggae. Yo.
  • 301. Looks good on him~
  • 302. I don’t understand what the fans expect from him. So what if they don’t like the hair? He’s not an actor or an idol who needs to “look good” all the time. He’s a soccer player. Yet his fans still want him to dress a certain way and do his hair a certain way. Let him live a little.
  • 303. IDK. I’m just wondering how he’s going to wash his hair thoroughly since he probably sweats a lot when he plays.

What do you think?

Read more below.

Short Hair Vs. Long Hair: Netizens Find Rare Photos Of “Player 9” Cho Gue Sung And Compare Them To His Current Style

Source: Beds SU and theqoo

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