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Son Heung-Min is training in Qatar with a mask ahead of the World Cup

Korean newspapers are referring him as a “masked tiger.”

FBL-WC-2022-TRAINING-KOR Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

The last time we saw Son Heung-Min he was sitting in the stands at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium wearing a Burberry coat and glasses watching Spurs come from behind to beat Leeds United 4-3. Now, he’s traded the chunky frames for a black mask to protect his (beautiful) face from further damage ahead of the World Cup.

Training photos have emerged from the South Korean media of Sonny training with his international teammates in Qatar ahead of the start of the World Cup, and based on those second hand reports, he’s feeling pretty good.

Sonny’s mask is jet black and made of what looks like might be carbon fiber, which is cool, but it also has the effect of making him look a little like a (very attractive) Hamburgler. Not the greatest of looks, but Sonny would make wearing a burlap sack look amazing, so he can definitely pull this off. I’m a little surprised he didn’t leverage that Burberry sponsorship and get some check plaid on that thing, but whatever.

For new fans or those who many only casually follow Sonny and Tottenham Hotspur (welcome! you’re in for a world of heartache!), Son is still recovering from a shoulder to the face in Tottenham’s Champions League win over Marseille that broke his eye socket in four places and required surgery. Thankfully, that surgery was very successful and he’s expected to play at least some role for Korea in the World Cup later this month.

That’s excellent news for Korea, as Sonny is literally the best player in Asia (he has the award to prove it) and the captain and talisman of the South Korean national team. They’re in a tough group with Portugal, Uruguay, and Ghana and their best chance of escaping that group is with a Sonny who is fit and firing.

Korea opens their World Cup with a match against Uruguay on Thursday, November 24 at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.