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As a young child, Lee hoped to become a professional football (soccer) player, but an injury in the 5th grade of elementary school put an end to his dream. Lee, however, still keeps up with football and has stated that Cristiano Ronaldo is his favorite player.[2] In his second year of high school, Lee turned to modeling and acting. After going through training, Lee started auditioning and landed small roles in several television dramas. His first role was in an EBS series, Secret Campus.[3] Early in his career he used the stage name Lee Min because his agency thought his birth name was too ordinary. Finally he changed it back to his original name due to the Korean word imin (pronounced and written in Hangul in the same way) means "immigration" and thus internet search results for his stage name were poor.[4] In 2006, his acting career was put on hold for a year following a serious car accident in which he was severely injured.[5] In 2008 he appeared in various roles on television (dramas Get Up and I Am Sam) and two movies, Public Enemy Returns and Our School E.T.. During the shooting of the latter he became good friends with Kim Soo-ro, who later praised him on a variety show: "I recognize a star when I see one. When I was doing 'Our School E.T', I knew that Lee Min-ho would become one of the top actors in the country".[6] His breakthrough came in 2009 with the lead role of Goo Jun-pyo in Boys Over Flowers (KBS2), the Korean adaptation of the popular Japanese television drama Hana Yori Dango, which was based on the popular Shōjo manga, Boys Over Flowers (花より男子 Hana Yori Dango). Audition for the role was so fierce Lee only got to know from a newspaper that he was cast.[7] In 2010 Lee followed up the success of Boys Over Flowers by starring in the MBC TV drama Personal Taste in which he played an ambitious perfectionist young architect who poses as a gay man to become roommates with a young woman leading to romantic complications. When asked about why he chose the role during an interview he responded "I think I would do a better job playing heavy and more defined roles when I am older. I think "Personal Taste" was perfect because it is bright, cheerful but you can also laugh and cry over it as well."[8] In 2011, he starred in the hit action drama City Hunter. The drama's popularity throughout Asia has also contributed to Lee's growing popularity in Asia, most notably in Japan, Philippines and China. On April 6, 2012, Lee announced on his Facebook page that he would appear in a new drama called Faith (Hangul: 신의, Rom.: Shinui), which aired from August to October 2012. On March 29, 2013, Lee revealed that he will be returning to the small screen with a new drama titled The Inheritors (also known as The Heirs).[9] This show began airing in Korea on SBS on October 9, 2013. His new project gained attention, because he worked with the writer of Secret Garden.[10] He also released his first album and went on a 10-city fan meeting tour in Asia.[11] In April 2013 his wax figure was unveiled at the Madame Tussauds in Shanghai.[12]