Heung-min Son Profile
|Born||Jul 08, 1992|
|Birthplace||Chuncheon, Gangwon, South Korea|
Tottenham's Heung-min Son is considered one of the greatest Asian soccer players of all time. Planet Sport takes a look at his career.
Heung-min Son is a Tottenham Hotspur forward and a superstar in his native South Korea. He became the first player from Asia to score fifty Premier League goals.
Known as a tremendously hard working player, with strong pace, good anticipation and finishing, Son can operate off the wing or as a central attacker. He impressed in Germany for both Hamburger SV and Bayer Leverkusen, earning a move to the Premier League with Spurs in 2015.
Son was part of the Tottenham squad that finished second in the 2016/17 Premier League and started in the 2019 Champions League final defeat to Liverpool.
In the 2019/20 season, Son was awarded the Premier League goal of the season and named Spurs' Player of the Season for the second consecutive year.
Son has played for South Korea at two World Cups in 2014 and 2018. In 2018 he won the Asian Games, claiming two assists as the Reds beat Japan 2-1 in extra time to clinch the gold medal. The win meant the victorious South Korean players were exempt from compulsory military service.
He was named AFC Asian International Footballer of the year for the third time in 2019. Forbes, meanwhile, ranked him at number four in their Power Korea celebrity list in 2020.
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Heung-min Son joined Tottenham Hotspur in 2015 for £27million from Bayer Leverkusen. He became the most expensive player in Asian football history breaking the record held by Hidoteshi Nakata, when he joined Parma from Roma for £25million.
Son scored his first goals for Spurs on his home debut in the Europa League against Qarabag in 2015.
He scored a superlative back heeled flick against Watford in December 2015 which sealed a 2-1 win. In May 2016, Son Heung-min scored the second of Tottenham's goals against Chelsea as Spurs looked to claim the Premier League title. Yet, Chelsea equalised in a 2-2 draw, handing the title to Leicester City.
Son admitted to Goal that he wanted to leave Tottenham Hotspur in 2016 but was persuaded to stay by his then boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Son said: "I said I'd like to leave the club, but he really wanted me to do well at Tottenham. He gave me new self-confidence. The talks went so well that at some point I pushed aside my thoughts of change."
He went on to score 21 goals in all competitions in the 2016/17 season, where Spurs pushed Chelsea hard for the Premier League title.
In November 2017, Son scored his 20th Premier League goal and broke Park Ji-Sung's record of total goals in the top flight scored by an Asian player. Son finished the 2017/18 season with 18 goals in all competitions. The standout strike of that season was an unstoppable thirty yarder against West Ham United in January 2018.
Son signed a new five-year deal with Spurs in 2018. He was allowed to leave for the Asian Games and won the tournament with South Korea in September 2018.
He scored the first ever Premier League goal at Spurs' new £1billion stadium in April 2019. In June 2019, Son played in the Champions League final for Spurs but they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool.
Son's superb December 2019 solo goal against Burnley was named Premier League Goal of the Season and has since been nominated for the Puskas Awards.
In September 2020, Heung-min Son scored four goals in Spurs' 5-2 demolition of Southampton, all four goals assisted by Harry Kane.
South Korea superstar
In 2020, Nielsen Fan Insights revealed that, thanks to Son, 21% of South Korean's considered Spurs as their favourite overseas team. That equates to 11million people, more fans than Tottenham have in the UK.
Son was born in Chuncheon, 75km northeast of the South Korean capital Seoul. His rise to prominence with Spurs has seen his fame skyrocket in South Korea. Bars are named after him, billboards carry his image and hundreds of Koreans flock to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium each game to watch their hero.
He featured for South Korea in the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, scoring in the quarter-finals as the young Reds were knocked out by hosts Nigeria.
In December 2010, Son made his international debut for the senior South Korean side in a friendly against Syria. He was then selected for the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar, scoring his first international goal against India in the group stages. South Korea progressed as far as the semi-finals before losing to Japan on penalties.
A chance to play for South Korea in the 2012 London Olympics was turned down by Son, as he wanted to concentrate on improving for then club Hamburger SV. He told German publication Kicker "In Korea, an Olympic appearance has a special meaning, but I want to speed up for Hamburg."
Heung-min Son did play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. South Korea were knocked out in the group stages but Son did score in the 2-4 defeat by Algeria.
In 2015 South Korea advanced all the way to the final of the Asia Cup, losing out narrowly to the hosts Australia. Alongside Tim Cahill, Son was named in the Team of the Tournament after scoring three goals, including one in the final.
He was able to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics soccer event, scoring in South Korea's 3-3 draw with Germany as they advanced from the group stage. They were then eliminated by Honduras 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Son scored against both Mexico and Germany but South Korea could only finish third in their group, and therefore failed to progress.
There was some redemption at the 2018 Asian Games where South Korea beat Iran, Uzbekistan and Vietnam in the knockout stages before dispatching Japan 2-1 after extra time to take the gold. Son provided a pair of assists to take the win and help his team-mates avoid compulsory military service.
Due to an agreement between Spurs and South Korea, Heung min Son missed the first two group matches of the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE. He later joined up with the squad as captain. He returned to Tottenham after South Korea were beaten 1-0 by Qatar in the quarter-finals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic break in April 2020, Son completed three week's mandatory military service with the South Korean marine corps on Jeju island.
Son has dated K-Pop stars Bang Min-ah and Yoo So-young but says he will leave marriage until the end of his soccer career.
He told the Guardian "When you marry, the number one will be family, wife and kids, and then football. I want to make sure that while I play at the top level, football can be number one".
The 28-year-old Son, lives with his parents in an apartment in Hampstead. He said: "There are different attitudes in Europe and Asia and, of course, people are thinking - 'Why is he living with his family?' But who cares about me? Who is helping me to play football? It is them. They gave up their life and they come over here to help me. I have to pay back".
Son is reportedly one of the highest paid South Korean athletes in the world, receiving a basic salary of £140,000 per week (£7.2m per year) from his contract with Tottenham. He is projected to have a total net worth of £57million.
He is currently 4th in Forbes (Korea) Power Celebrity list and has a sponsorship deal with sportswear equipment supplier Adidas.