While attention is focused on Son Heung-min (30, Tottenham Hotspur) winning the Asian version of Ballon d’Or, Japan expects Kaoru Mitoma (25, Brighton & Hove Albion) to stop it.
On the 30th of last month, China’s Titan Sports unveiled 25 candidates for the Asia’s Best Player Award. In Korea, along with Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae (Napoli), Cho Kyu-seong (Jeonbuk Hyundai), and Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan Hyundai) were named.
The most likely candidate is Son Heung-min. It continues to maintain the Asian throne for 5 consecutive times from 2017 to 2021, the most ever. In the Premier League last season, he became the first Asian player to win the top scorer.
Japan produced the most candidates this time with seven. I hope that Son Heung-min will take away the throne that he is firmly guarding.
Japan’s Tokyo Sports said on the 1st, “Seven Japanese players including Mitoma, who is creating a sensation in the Premier League, were included in the final candidates for the Asian version of Ballon d’Or. Will Son Heung-min stop his 6-game losing streak?”
According to the media, this award is an Asian Ballon d’Or created by the Chinese newspaper Titan Sports in 2013, inspired by the European Ballon d’Or (organized by French football). 25 candidates for 2022 have been announced. Winners will be selected and announced in February.
Keisuke Honda in 2013, the first time, and Shinji Okazaki in 2016 won this award. Except for this, Son Heung-min, striker of the Korean national soccer team, was all selected. This is the highest number of awards, 7 times.
Son Heung-min entered the finalist this time as well, but he expressed his anticipation that the Japanese forces would break the stronghold and win the title of Asia’s best player. 안전놀이터
Son Heung-min is still suffering from an orbital fracture injury that he suffered in early November of last year. At the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, he showed his fighting spirit from injury and led Korea to advance to the round of 16. This season, he has scored 4 goals and 3 assists in 19 league appearances. His pace has declined from last season, but he recently announced a resurgence by reporting multiple goals in the FA Cup with Preston and assisted against Fulham.
Mitoma has 4 goals and 1 assist in 14 league games. He proved himself to be the ‘Liverpool Killer’ by scoring dramatic goals in late extra time against Liverpool in the FA Cup. However, it is still not enough to overcome Son Heung-min’s stronghold.