South Korean men‘s national football captain Son Heung-min has been named the country’s best player of the year for a record fourth time.
The Korea Football Association announced on Thursday that Son, the attacking stalwart for Tottenham Hotspur, was voted the Male Player of the Year for 2019.
Son was also honored in 2013, 2014 and 2017. The fourth award breaks a tie with three-time honoree Ki Sung-yueng, who earned the award in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
Son topped the voting by the media and the KFA‘s election committee. Players were award points based on a top-three vote, and Son came away with 209 points.
Valencia CF midfielder Lee Kang-in, who led South Korea to second place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in June, was a distant second with 69 points, followed by Ulsan Hyundai FC midfielder Kim Bo-kyung (48 points), the reigning K League 1 MVP.
The award is open to all South Korean-born players, regardless of their club affiliations.
Son became the all-time Korean scoring leader in European club football on Nov. 6 when he scored a pair of goals in a UEFA Champions League match to move past former Bundesliga legend Cha Bum-kun’s mark of 121.
Earlier in the year, Son helped lead Spurs to their first UEFA Champions League final. He scored 20 goals in 48 matches during the
2018-2019 season, one shy of his career high, and has 10 in 22 matches so far in the 2019-2010 season.
This season‘s tally includes a jawdropping wonder goal against Burnley on Dec. 6, which is being touted as the goal of the Premier League season.
Son finished 22nd in the Ballon d’Or voting, becoming the top Asian finisher in the race for the world‘s best football player.
Chelsea FC Women forward Ji So-yun was named the Female Player of the Year for the fifth time, adding to her trophies from 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Ji netted six goals in 12 international matches this year, and she remains the country’s all-time leading female scorer with 55 goals in 121 matches.
Chung Jung-yong, head coach of the upstart U-20 men‘s national team, was named the Male Coach of the Year. Kim Yu-mi, who guided Hwacheon Information Industry High School to two national women’s titles, was the Female Coach of the Year. (Yonhap)