South Korean striker Cho Gue-sung has captured the hearts of many, not only with his football skills and goal-scoring talent at this year's World Cup, but also with his absolutely swoon-worthy facial features.
And because of the latter, Cho had to turn his phone off after his thousands of admirers bombarded him with "daily marriage proposals."
"He had to get some rest. His phone was going all night. It was keeping him awake. He was trying to concentrate on football and, all the time, the messages were coming," South Korean journalist Seo Jung-hwan told fellow reporters, according to an article by The Athletic.
The sudden meteoric rise to popularity for a man who labeled himself as "insignificant" is a strange and exceptional case, as he only had about 20,000 followers on his Instagram account and there was also little information about his personal life prior to the 2022 World Cup.
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After scoring twice against Ghana in their second World Cup group match, however, his Instagram followers skyrocketed to nearly two million as of writing. That is despite him only having six posts, with the latest one posted on Dec. 2.
The peculiar fascination with the 24-year-old player continued even on Twitter, as evidenced when the video of him by South Korean journalist Yim Hyun-su raked more than seven million views on the platform. And he didn't even do anything interesting in the seven-second clip other than sit on the bench with his arms folded.
Cho Gue-sung’s fancam already has over 6M views lol pic.twitter.com/L4B2JI3Te1— Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) November 28, 2022
According to Josh Hershman, an expert who works with significant names and brands in the sport, Cho is likely to be exposed on different platforms even more as he may be approached by agencies willing to take advantage of his new-found fame.
"Going from a few thousand followers on social media to almost two million will certainly put brands on alert as to how they look to work with him to access that audience," Hershman said.
"It will be interesting to see which brands look to capitalize and how far his reach outside of Asia is impacted. It’s also worth keeping an eye on how he builds his profile from here. What does he stand for? What is he like beyond the pitch? Building that will open more opportunities for him," he added.