Death, Taxes, Son Heung-Min winning the Best Footballer in Asia award. For the fifth year running and the seventh time total, Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min has been named the Best Footballer in Asia.
Anybody surprised by this? Nope? Me either.
Heung-Min Son has won The Best Footballer in Asia award for the fifth year in a row! pic.twitter.com/QMlL6vcj4g— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 3, 2022
This award is basically the Ballon d’Or of Asian football. Presented by Chinese newspaper Titan Sports, it was directly inspired by France Football’s award, though it has only been around since 2013. Keisuke Honda won the inaugural award. Shinji Okazaki, formerly of Leicester City, took the prize in 2016. Every other year it’s been won by Sonny.
Interestingly, two Iranian footballers came in second and third this year — Zenit’s Sardar Azmoun finished as runner up this year, same as last year, while Porto striker Mehdi Taremi finished a distant third.
The award is open to not only Asian footballers, but also non-Asians who play in Asian leagues. Take a look down the list of players who received points and you’ll see some names familiar to Tottenham Hotspur fans, including our old friend Leandro Damiao (Kawasaki Frontale, 12th place), Bafetimbi Gomis (Al-Hilal, 13th place), and even some guy named Andres Iniesta (Vissel Kobe, 20th place). Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu, whom Spurs were heavily linked with before eventually signing Emerson Royal, finished fifth in the voting.
At this point we should probably just assume that Sonny’s going to win every Asian football award he’s nominated for until someone who plays in the AFC comes along who’s just obviously better. Thus far, I haven’t seen anyone who comes close. Sonny scored 17 goals in all competitions in the calendar year of 2021.