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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Spurs celebrate Son Heung-min’s 400th appearance, Korean style

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Musicians from the Shilla Ensemble troupe perform a traditional Korean samulnori on the pitch before a game between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest in London on Sunday.  [REUTERS]
Musicians from the Shilla Ensemble troupe perform a traditional Korean samulnori on the pitch before a game between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest in London on Sunday. [REUTERS]

A week rarely goes by without a Korean element to the proceedings at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, where captain Son Heung-min is used to playing in front of a sizeable contingent of Korean fans. Things got a bit more traditional this week, as Spurs arranged a traditional performance to mark the Korean star’s 400th appearance for the club.

Sunday’s match between Spurs and Nottingham Forest was preceded by a samulnori, or traditional Korean percussion, performance by the London-based Shilla Ensemble troupe, according to the club.

The unusual addition to a Premier League football match was scheduled to celebrate Son’s 400th appearance with the club in the previous game on April 2. The samulnori performance was accompanied by a video celebrating the achievement.

Son joined Spurs in 2015 on a five-year contract worth 22 million pounds (37 billion won) to become the most expensive Asian player in football history. His current contract with Spurs runs until the summer of 2025, but there has so far been no reason to speculate that Son will exit the club.

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min celebrates after a Premier League match against Nottingham Forrest in London on Sunday.  [REUTERS]
Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min celebrates after a Premier League match against Nottingham Forrest in London on Sunday. [REUTERS]

Spurs and the Premier League on Tuesday also posted a nostalgia-packed video to Instagram, capturing the beloved Korean footballer’s biggest moments at the club.

Son, in animation form, flips open a photo album with 400 in hangul on the cover to a highlights reel of his nearly nine-year Spurs career: First (and second) goal for Spurs in his debut in a Europa League match against Qarabag. First Premier League goal against Crystal Palace. Goal-of-the-season contender against Chelsea. First person to score at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Puskas Award stunner against Burnley. Premier League goal combination record with Harry Kane. Winning a Golden Boot in 2022. Becoming captain in 2023. 400th game.

Spurs beat Forest 3-1 on Sunday, moving back into the top four on the Premier League table. Son picked up an assist in the win.

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

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