South Korean international Park Ji-sung is a big fan of the South American superstar, and club colleague Emerson Royal claims the two share mutual respect. Tottenham striker Son Heung-min is regarded as one of the game’s most humble figures, with club colleague Emerson Royal claiming that the South Korean frequently inquires if Brazil sensation Neymar is aware of his existence. It would be surprising if a household figure playing for Paris Saint-Germain was wholly unaware of the exploits of a man who scored 23 goals in the 2021-22 Premier League season, sharing the Golden Boot with Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah. Emerson insists that his fellow countryman is a big fan of Son, having always kept an eye across events in England, with a key figure in north London earning recognition from South America and beyond.
Emerson, who works alongside Son at Spurs, has told ESPN of conversations he has with the 29-year-old regarding his ever-growing fan base: “He keeps joking and says: ‘Imagine if I were Brazilian? Me, Neymar and I don’t know who else playing’. “He is a big fan of Neymar and has great affection for him. He talks to me directly about Ney and asks: ‘Does he know me?’ I reply: ‘Hey Son, of course he knows you, man. Just as you admire him, he can admire you too. You’re a star, you play a lot of ball’.” Emerson added ahead of Brazil’s friendly date with South Korea on Thursday: “I even sent a message to Neymar and asked him to change shirts with Son in the Korea game because he is a big fan. “He [Son] is an inexplicable figure, he has a giant heart and he is a cheerful guy. I tell him: ‘You’re Brazilian, you’re not Korean’. “When I arrived at Tottenham, I didn’t speak English and he tried to talk to me in Spanish and Portuguese to make me feel good. In training he is dedicated, but he is cheerful and has fun with everyone.”
Spurs snapped Son up from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015 and saw him make a slow start to life in England, with another transfer considered at one point after hitting only eight goals in his debut campaign. He broke the 20-goal barrier in his second season and has never looked back. Son now has 131 efforts for Tottenham to his name, as the perfect partner for leading marksman Harry Kane. He was helped over the Golden Boot-winning line by those around him in the 2021-22 season as Antonio Conte’s side secured a top-four finish and Champions League qualification. Emerson said of seeing Son land a prestigious individual prize: “We were trying everything we could to get him to score. At the end of the game, the coach was looking to see if Salah was scoring goals. “We were saying: ‘Son, you need to score one more goal’. Everyone is rooting for his success because he is a spectacular player and a sensational person. “This energy he transmitted to the group we transmitted back. He’s a guy who only deserves good things.”