Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean forward Son Heung-min said Friday that he is determined to return his English Premier League club with an Asiad gold medal.
Son's South Korea will take on Japan in the men's football final at the 18th Asian Games at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, Indonesia, on Saturday. South Korea are looking to defend their men's football title.
For Son and his South Korean teammates, winning the final is more than just getting a gold medal. It will also give them exemption from mandatory military service that usually takes about two years.
Son recently signed a new contract with Spurs that runs until 2023. Winning Asiad gold will allow him to play with the London club without interruption.
Son, who serves as the U-23 team captain, said he will deliver the good news to his fans and his club teammates.
"Ben Davis always texts me messages like 'good luck,' or 'best luck' before our matches," Son said at pre-match press conference.
"I will return to my club with South Korea's victory.
Son said his team will play with the beginner's mindset in the final.
"We all know our reaching this far wasn't easy," he said. "Not only our coach, but I also told our players that we should play the final like we're having the opening match."
Son joined U-23 team as one of the "wild card" members with Jo Hyeon-woo and Hwang Ui-jo. He said overage players should lead their younger teammates by example.
"I know I have to move first and be an example," he said.
"Although my young teammates will prepare for the final well, I'll sacrifice for my team first."
South Korea and Japan will meet in the men's football final at the Asian Games for the first time. South Korea, the defending champions, are looking for their fifth Asiad title.
"Japan are the team that deserves to be in the final," he said. "It's obvious that winning is important. As I look in my teammates' eyes, they're all determined and prepared. They're hungry for victory." (Yonhap)