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You might have seen Singapore’s recent 0-7 defeat against the South Korean Team in the World Cup qualifiers.

*sighs*

But while it was sad to witness the Lion’s defeat, the South Korean team’s captain went viral for praising them.

After the match, South Korean team captain Son Heung-min told reporters that the Lions had improved and added that they have a “bright future” ahead.

As the Captain of the Premier League club, Tottenham Spur, Son is often regarded as one of the best Asian football players of all time – so maybe at least the Lions can find comfort in this legend’s kind words.

Here are eight facts about this kind and legendary football player.

Highest Scoring Asian Player in the Premier League

Son is one of the most prolific Asian players in the Premier League, with 120 career goals in the Premier League.

This equates to him being the 22nd highest-scoring player in the Premier League, with first place being Alan Shearer with 260 goals, and second place being Son’s good friend and teammate Harry Kane, with 213 goals.

For comparison, Cristiano Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as the top goalscorer of all time with 859 total goals to date, has a total of 103 Premier League career goals.

He has an Adorable and Meaningful Celebration Pose

Many football players have iconic goal celebratory poses – from Ronaldo’s memeable SUI to Messi’s adorable finger point dedicated to his children.

Source: bleacherreport.com

When Son scores, his celebration pose looks a little something like this:

Image: Instagram (@hm_son7)

As he looks towards the camera after scoring a goal, he makes a gesture imitating snapping a picture, symbolically capturing the moment as a core memory.

Just like how Jim and Pam took mental pictures during their wedding, this meaningful celebratory pose is quickly becoming one of the most iconic poses in football history.

Started His Career in Germany

Leaving South Korea at the young age of 16, Son joined Hamburger SV’s youth programme.

In just two years, he became the club’s youngest top scorer in the league.

Thereafter, he moved to Bayer Leverkusen in 2013, for a whopping S$14.8 million.

He Watched SpongeBob SquarePants to Learn German

Moving to a completely foreign country at such a young age, Son had to pick up German as quickly as he could.

He did all that he could to learn the language, even resorting to watching SpongeBob SquarePants episodes dubbed in German, he admitted in an interview with the BBC.

Watch this trilingual icon fluently slay this interview in German here:

His Father was a ‘Tiger Dad’

Son’s football talents run through his veins, as his father, Son Woong-jung was also a professional footballer himself before an injury cut his career short.

So of course with a father who knew what it took to play in the big leagues, Son’s training started young.

According to Son, as soon as he could walk, he was kicking a ball.

His father used to give him four hours of “keepy-uppies”, where he could not let the ball hit the floor.

While he lamented it at the time, Son looks back at this fondly and says that it is something he and his dad still talk about today.

He credits much of his success to his dad, stating that he wouldn’t be where he is today if not for the tough training his dad put him through.

Dads, amirite?

He Dropped Out of School at 16

When Son was 10, Korea made it to the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup for the very first time, beating heavyweights like Italy and Spain to get there.

This was the best result for an Asian team at any World Cup ever and Son was very much inspired by his predecessors.

With players like Park Ji-sung as his role models, Son decided to drop out of school to follow his dream of becoming a professional football player.

As a famous man once said – high risk high reward, and Son’s unconventional decision paid off.

He Has a Black Belt in Taekwondo

Aside from being a top-class football player, Son’s athleticism doesn’t stop there.

He also holds a black belt in Taekwondo, making him a skilled martial artist.

So much so that his defence on the pitch when he fouled Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo was likened to “martial arts”.

While netizens called out the commentator for being racist, maybe his background in martial arts really did come into play.

Aside from going viral for his ultra-kind words towards the lions, Son has also gone viral for crying on the pitch.

From crying tears of joy after South Korea’s historic win against Portugal in 2022 to qualify for the World Cup to being seen sobbing after Jordan beat South Korea in the 2023 Asian Cup Semifinals, Son is no stranger to displaying emotions.

One of the most heartbreaking moments was when Son missed a shot, upending Everton’s Midfielder Andre Gomez.

He initially was issued a yellow card, and was in tears when he realised how badly injured Gomez was – he had landed terribly and ended up with a broken ankle.

The ruling later changed to a red card and Son was seen to be extremely devastated.

Many bosses and players from the team stood up for him at the time and said it was unfair for him to have received a red.

They even said he’s one of the nicest people and couldn’t even lift his head from crying that much in the dressing room.

Needless to say, Son is extremely passionate about his sport and takes pride in being an honourable player.

We stan a man who is unafraid to show emotion.

We can’t wait to see more of this icon at the next World Cup – maybe with him on the pitch, there’ll be more insane moments like Japan defeating Germany.

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