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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Son Heung-min nominated for Ballon d’Or

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Son Heung-min was nominated for the 2022 Ballon d’Or award on Friday, receiving a nod for the second time in his career after finishing 22nd in the 2019 awards.
Tottenham Hotspur forward Son was among the 30 players shortlisted for the award by France Football, with Spurs teammate Harry Kane also receiving a nomination.
Son is one of only three Koreans to have made it onto the nominations list, alongside Seol Ki-hyeon in 2002 and Park Ji-sung in 2005. Son was also nominated in 2019 when he received two votes to finish in 22nd place, the highest ever achieved by an Asian footballer.

One notable exclusion from this year’s shortlist is Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, who has been a regular on the Ballon d’Or list since 2005. Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema leads this year’s lineup, with Brazilian forward Neymar also snubbed.

Son is the only Asian footballer shortlisted.

Although Son has never come close to claiming the Ballon d’Or, he is a former winner of FIFA’s Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal in the world, and the perennial winner of the Best Footballer in Asia award, known as Asia’s Ballon d’Or.

Son won the 2020 FIFA Puskas Award, an annual prize recognizing the “best goal scored during the period from 20 July 2019 to 7 October 2020 inclusive, regardless of the championship, gender or nationality.” 

He won the award for a 2019 goal against Burnley, in which he picked up the ball on the edge of the Spurs’ penalty area and ran the entire length of the field on his own, weaving his way through the Burnley defense before hammering it home. Spurs went on to win the game 5-0.

Son has won the Best Footballer in Asia award, presented by Titan Sports, for five consecutive years. Overall, he has won the award seven times and finished in third place, once, missing out on the top three only once in the award’s nine-year history. 

The 2022 Ballon d’Or award ceremony will be held on Oct. 17. 

BY JIM BULLEY [jim.bulley@joongang.co.kr]

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