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K League 1 Media Day 2023: FC Seoul Captain Stanislav Iljutcenko

Having recently been named captain of capital club FC Seoul, Stanislav Iljutcenko will be hoping to lead by example as he looks to help Seoul climb back into Final A and into Champions League contention once more, after a disappointing campaign last year.

Iljutcenko may be the only foreign captain across the leagues this season, but he is not the first at FC Seoul, following on most recently from Osmar. On facing the challenges posed by the language barrier, Iljutcenko believes it won't be an issue.

"I don’t think it is too difficult because we have a lot of players who have played overseas and many veterans at the club speak English, so it is not a big problem. Also, I have a very good translator. He is always near to us. 24-7 we can reach him so I don’t think there are big problems."

2023 has also seen the striker retain the unconventional number 90 shirt to celebrate his birth year, having seen his preferred number 10 taken once more by Ji Dong-won.

"I was playing last year and was also the number 90. Before I was playing with the number 10 but 10 was not free so I decided to take the 90 because I was born in the year 1990."

As a foreign player in K League, Stanislav Iljutcenko is also subject to the new quota rules enforced in the top division from this season, seeing an increase to five international players plus one Asian player instead of the previous 3+1+1 rule that saw three internationals, one Asian player and one ASEAN player. However, the 3+1 rule still applies to players on the pitch, meaning some of FC Seoul's international contingent could start from the bench.

"I think it’s difficult for every club. It’s a new rule. We will see how it will go. I saw a lot of teams playing a lot of foreigners and the rule is 3+1 can play so always some foreigners have to stay on the bench. On the one side, this can improve the quality of the K League. On the other side, perhaps some Korean players will not be in the squad. The rule is new so we’ll see how it’s going. The season has not started yet so we will see in the future."

In terms of personal targets for this season, despite having played in the division for several years now, Iljutcenko his not quantifying his objectives.

"I never have targets like I have to score 10 goals, 15 goals or whatever. It is important for me to perform well and, if I perform well, the goals will follow by themselves. Because I’m a striker, I want to score. It is important for me. But if we get results everything else will follow."

FC Seoul play their opening match at home to Incheon United on Saturday 25th February.

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