South Korean football star Son Heung-min has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or Award, a prestigious prize given to the world’s top players.
French sports magazine France Football released Tuesday the list of 30 nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or Award. Making an announcement on its website, the magazine says that Son has become the first Asian to be nominated for the award in 12 years. The list also includes Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus, and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool.
Before Son, ex-Anderlecht forward Seol Ki-hyeon and former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung were nominated for the award in 2002 and 2005, respectively. Back then there were 50 candidates, not 30, and neither of them earned a vote from international journalists.
The Spurs star has become the seventh Asian player to make the 30-man list since 1995, when the prize was opened to all players in Europe regardless of nationality. In 1998, Japan’s Hidetoshi Nakata was nominated for the prize for the first time as an Asian footballer, and also made the list in 1999 and 2001, becoming the only Asian player to be nominated three times. In 2007, Iraq’s Younis Mahmoud and Japan’s Shunsuke Nakamura also appeared in the final tally. Mahmoud was the only Asian player to earn a vote at that time.
Won-Joo Lee email@example.com