Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min has become the highest-ever Asian finisher in Ballon d’Or voting, after he came in 22nd place among 30 nominees in voting for the Ballon d’Or 2019.
It was Lionel Messi who won the Ballon d’Or 2019 – thereby becoming the only footballer on the planet to win the award six times or more. He faced stiff competition from Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and van Dijk’s Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane among others, to win the award.
The top-ten list for Ballon d’Or 2019, is as follows.
- Lionel Messi
- Virgil van Dijk
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Sadio Mane
- Mohamed Salah
- Kylian Mbappe
- Alisson Becker
- Robert Lewandowski
- Bernardo Silva
- Kevin de Bruyne
Son Heung-min, who is the captain of the South Korea national team and also a regular starter for Tottenham in the Premier League and the Champions League among other competitions, finished 22nd in the top-30 list as mentioned earlier.
He was also the first Asian player to be nominated since Younis Mahmoud of Iraq in 2007. Mahmoud finished 29th that year and had been the only Asian to appear in the top 30 final rankings before Son.
Only two South Korean players had been nominated for the Ballon d’Or so far: former RSC Anderlecht forward Seol Ki-Hyeon in 2002 and ex-Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung in 2005. But there were 50 candidates in those years and neither Seol nor Park earned a vote.
With inputs from Eleven Myanmar.