Son Heung-min first Asian to win Premier League golden boot, calls it ‘childhood dream come true’ in emotional interview
- Tottenham forward scores twice in side’s 5-0 thrashing of Norwich to finish tied on 23 goals with Liverpool’s Mo Salah
- Result sees Spurs secure fourth place in the table, and Champions League football next season
Tottenham’s South Korean forward scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Norwich on the last day of the season, leaving him tied on 23 goals with Liverpool striker Mo Salah, who found the back of the net in a 3-1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo finished third with 18 goals in his first season back in the Premier League, having not featured in his side’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.
Speaking after the game, Son said it was “incredible” to have won the award.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I got really emotional. I dreamed of it as a child. Literally it’s my in hands. I can’t believe it.
“Until my goal I was really frustrated that I missed big chances. I told the players I missed the easiest chances and scored one of the toughest ones.
“I didn’t give up. I wanted to score today. The team helped me a lot at half-time. They wanted to help me, you could see it today.”
Tottenham’s win secured a fourth-place finish, meaning the will play Champions League football next season, and Spurs manager Antonio Conte was delighted to see club and individual ambitions realised.
“This was our target,” Conte told the BBC. “First to get in the Champions League but then when there was a chance to help Sonny reach the top scorer, we enjoyed it.
“I have seen his teammates try to help him. The award is for Son but it’s for the whole team. They helped him reach this big achievement.”
South Korea national team coach Paulo Bento also hailed 29-year-old Son’s golden boot-winning performance as a landmark moment for football in the country.
“I think that is a good achievement for him, all of us would like to congratulate him,” Bento said. “It’s important for himself, but also important for the team as well as for Korean football.
“It was an achievement that helped the team to reach an important goal, that is to play next season in the Champions League, and this is the most important. All of us are happy for him.”
Son has been in blistering form throughout the season and also helped his homeland qualify for the World Cup, scoring four times during the final round of Asia’s preliminaries as Bento’s side booked their spot in Qatar.
Son has been included in Bento’s 28-man squad for a series of friendly matches in early June as the South Koreans begin their preparations for the finals with games against Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and an as yet unnamed opponent.
“This training camp will be the most difficult training camp we will have until now, but it is what we need to face,” said Bento.
“It’s not important to talk too much about the schedule and about our opponents, the most important is that I try to fix it to arrange the best solutions to face the three strong opponents in a short period of time with a difficult context.”
South Korea have been drawn in Group H at November’s World Cup, where they will face Portugal, Uruguay and Ghana.