Turkey defender Alpay Özalan has left Europe to join Korean K-League newcomers Incheon United.
Alpay was released by Aston Villa FC last October, after receiving heavy criticism in the English media following an incident involving David Beckham during Turkey's UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier against England in Istanbul. He links up at Incheon with German coach Werner Lorant, whom he worked with at Fenerbahçe SK.
The 30-year-old revealed that his experience at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where Turkey reached the semi-finals, was a key factor in his decision to move to the Korean Republic despite offers from several Turkish clubs. He said: "The interest and love we were shown during the World Cup in 2002 had a very positive effect on my choice.
I can still hear the cheering of Korean fans at the third-place play-off."