Tottenham Hotspur and Korea Republic star player Son Heung-min has now become the first Asian to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or award in more than a decade.
The Tottenham Hotspur winger was one of the players who was included in the 30 names announced by renowned France publication France Football as nominees for the forthcoming Ballon d’Or 2019 award. He consequently became only the fourth Asian footballer and the first in a dozen years to be nominated for the coveted award.
Son played a vital role in the Mauricio Pochettino’s team which reached the finals of the UEFA Champions League but lost the summit clash 1-0 to Liverpool. In the ongoing season too, he has already netted three goals and provided as many assists in 10 matches across all competitions.
Prior to Son, Japan’s Hidetoshi Nakata was nominated for the Ballon d’Or honour in 1998 and 1999. Former Manchester United player and South Korean star Park Ji-Sung was also nominated for the award back in 2005 while Iraq’s Younis Mahmoud made the shortlist in 2007.
However, given the immense competition, Asia might still have to wait for its first Ballon d’Or as Virgil van Dijk and Lionel Messi are favourites to get football’s most sought after award in 2019.