Ex-Barcelona starlet Lee Seung-woo returns to South Korea with Suwon FC

At just the age of 20, Lee Seung-woo -- who graduated from Barcelona's La Masia academy -- featured for South Korea at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. AP Photo/Martin Meissner

South Korea international Lee Seung-woo, who famously graduated from Barcelona's famed La Masia academy, will play professionally in his homeland for the first time after sealing a move to Suwon FC.

Lee, who display prodigious talent in his early teens and caught the eye of Barcelona scouts at an international youth tournament, would never represent the LaLiga giants' first team although he did feature once for the B side.

Having failed to make the breakthrough at Camp Nou, he would then move to Serie A outfit Verona and subsequently spent the last two years on the books of Belgium's Sint-Truiden, which included a brief loan move to Portugal with Portimonense.

But the 23-year-old, who featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, will now continue his career back in South Korea although it is perhaps surprising that he has not joined one of the K League 1's traditional heavyweights and has instead signed for Suwon.

Still, it should be worth nothing that Suwon -- playing in the top-flight K League 1 for only the second time ever this season -- have surpassed all expectations.

With one game remaining in the 2021 campaign, Suwon are guaranteed a top-half finish and could end as high as fifth as long as they avoid defeat against local rivals Suwon Samsung Bluewings -- currently 6th on the table -- in Sunday's final match of the season.

Lee's move mirrors that of several of his compatriots in recent times who have headed back to South Korea after spending time in Europe including ex-La Masia counterpart Paik Seung-ho, who joined Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors earlier this year, Kwon Chang-hoon and Yun Il-lok.