Heung-Min Son has confirmed he is fit for the World Cup with South Korea after undergoing surgery on a fracture around his eye.
The Tottenham forward wrote on Instagram: “Hi everyone. I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you all for the messages of support I have received over the last week. I have read so many of them and truly, truly appreciate you all. In a tough time I received a lot of strength from you!
“Playing for your country at the World Cup is the dream of so many children growing up, just as it was one of mine too. I won’t miss this for the world. I can’t wait to represent our beautiful country, see you soon.”
Son had surgery to stabilise a fracture around his left eye last Friday after sustaining the injury in Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Marseille in the Champions League that week.
It raised fears in South Korea that their star player could miss the tournament in Qatar, their 11th appearance at the World Cup.
Son thrived in their convincing qualifying campaign as they won seven and lost only one of their 10 matches, finishing second behind Iran.
Son scored 23 goals last season to become the first Asian player to win the Premier League Golden Boot which he shared with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
The achievement only enhanced his ‘God-like’ status back in South Korea as he was given a hero’s welcome when Antonio Conte’s side travelled to South Korea for pre-season in the summer.
He is likely to receive similar fanfare in Qatar as he heads to the Middle East as one of the tournament’s elite players in the prime of his career at the age of 30.
Qatar 2022 also gives Son the chance to become the country’s all-time top scorer at World Cups – he needs just one goal to surpass Ahn Jung-Hwan and Park Ji-Sung’s record of three goals.
But Son, who has scored 35 goals in 104 appearances for South Korea, still has a way to go to become their leading goal scorer, as he sits 23 goals behind Cha Bum-Kun.
Son’s aim for now, though, will be to lead his side past the group stages for just the third time in their history.
Uruguay vs South Korea, Thursday November 24; kick-off 1pm
South Korea vs Ghana, Monday November 28; kick-off 1pm
South Korea vs Portugal, Friday November 2; kick-off 3pm