Anyone mildly interested in football has surely heard the term “Sonaldo”. Reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world’s best football players, it is actually the nickname for Heung-min Son, the forward for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the captain of the South Korean national team. Although he doesn’t yet have the reputation of the established football star Ronaldo, Son is no doubt a key playmaker in both national and international teams, and continues to show peak performance at all times. From a broad perspective, he is certainly in the midst of the golden age of his professional career.
Heung-min Son was born on July 8, 1992 in Chuncheon, South Korea. As soon as he started walking, he was kicking the ball. His father is a former professional footballer who spent many hours coaching and training Son during his early years. He recalls his father as a “scary” coach who made him endure hours of keepy-uppies and draining workouts. Even after Son made his debut in the German Bundesliga in 2010, they continued the training sessions whenever possible. Son has always expressed his respect for his father, who taught him to “work more than the talent” he has.
Such a strong “practice makes perfect” mindset goes some way to explain the records Son has broken so far. After signing into his current club in the Premier League, he became the most expensive Asian player in history, with a 22 million GBP contract. He is the joint-highest scorer for Korea at the World Cup, and won South Korea a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, a feat which exempted him from compulsory military service. Recently, he has become the top Asian goal scorer in both Premier and Champions League history. Although Tottenham Hotspur was ultimately defeated in the Champions final, Son played a major role in bringing his team there.
Son is definitely a talented player with numerous accolades to his name, but what makes him a professional is his personality. He always remains humble and gives credit to his teammates for his success. Recently, Son made headlines for accidentally but severely injuring another player during a tackle — an incident for which he openly and sincerely apologized on multiple occasions. His charming smile and admirable personality also explain his international marketability and popularity, attracting many managers from renowned football clubs. There have been rumors about him signing a new contract, but Son’s loyalty to Tottenham Hotspurs means he will probably not be changing uniforms any time soon.
Son may be a football player, but even non-football fans have a lot to learn from Son’s honesty, modesty, and diligence. Although his team has never yet won a trophy in the major leagues, Son undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him.