South Korea captain Son Heung-min will undergo surgery after fracturing his left eye socket, raising doubts over his availability for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Son, one of Asian football’s highest-profile players, was caught by Chancel Mbemba as he attempted to flick on a high ball during the first half of Tottenham’s Champions League match at Marseille on Tuesday. After receiving lengthy treatment he was then helped off the field and appeared visibly disoriented.
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Tottenham Hotspur announced on Wednesday that Son will have an operation “to stabilise a fracture around his left eye”.
We can confirm that Heung-Min Son will undergo surgery to stabilise a fracture around his left eye.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 2, 2022
The Premier League club did not say how long Son will be out of action for.
“Following surgery,” the team said, “Son will commence rehabilitation with our medical staff, and we shall update supporters further in due course.”
The World Cup starts on November 20 with South Korea due to play its first group game against Uruguay four days later. South Korea will also face Portugal and Ghana in Group H.
The nation has appeared at 10 previous World Cups, finishing fourth in 2002 when they co-hosted the tournament with Japan.
At the 2018 World Cup, South Korea exited at the group stage with Son scoring two of their three goals in the tournament.
Son also scored in his country’s last match, a 1-0 win over Cameroon in September.
Last season, Son was the top scorer along with Liverpool FC’s Mohamed Salah in the Premier League with 23 goals.
This season he has been less prolific, notching just three goals in the Premier League – all in one game – and two Champions League goals.
Tottenham Hotspur are set to play Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Leeds before the World Cup begins.