For Son Heung-min, the Asian Cup has now become a tournament he doesn’t want to mention.
The 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup was a tournament that could be Son’s last Asian Cup. Born in 1992, Son has already reached the age of 31. Son will be 34 years old at the 2027 Asian Cup, which will take place four years later.
Although they are at an age when they can play well as soccer players, considering that Park Ji-sung and Ki Sung-yueng announced their retirement from the national team at the ages of 29 and 30, respectively, there is no possibility of retirement at all. Both players decided to retire relatively early while traveling between England and Korea.
Son has already hinted at a possible retirement. Immediately after the semifinal defeat against Jordan on the 7th, Son said, “I think I should think about whether I can continue the national team. The coach may not think about me. I don’t know the future.” He directly mentioned the possibility of retirement.
It was a remark that was difficult to understand given Son’s attitude toward the national team. Immediately after the A-match ended in March last year, Son even felt proud through his personal SNS channel, saying, “Playing for the country, wearing the national soccer team uniform, is always a pride.” In other words, some argued that the possible retirement remarks indirectly expressed some problems with the current national team’s management.
One of the reasons that made this remark impossible for Son Heung-min to be forced to include coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Klinsmann’s radio, irresponsible, and insincere attitude has already been reported through the media several times. Kyle Martino, former member of the U.S. national soccer team, told The Athletic, “I saw it in person, and the training sessions were contradictory. It was confusing, unclear, and did not prepare for the game. The players did not know where they were supposed to play until the day. Literally, it was a mess.”
For Son, the Asian Cup has become a difficult competition to mention. In an interview with the Evening Standard in the U.K. on Sunday, Son said, “I don’t want to talk about the Asian Cup again. It’s really hard to accept, but it’s part of soccer. It really hurts (my heart), but I play soccer to make myself smile again.” 꽁머니환전
Son Heung-min is trying to overcome his pain and move forward. He said, “Obviously, I came back quickly to help the team. I want to be part of the team. We had a good result against Brighton. There are only a few months left until the end of the season, but I don’t want to talk about the future already. I want to do the best I can.”