Tottenham and Korea Republic ace Son Heung-min’s status as the top Asian footballer at present has been reinforced with him being voted the Best Footballer in Asia 2019.
The award – organised by Titan Sports – strives to be the equivalent of the Ballon d’Or and features a panel of journalists voting for Asia’s standout player each calendar year.
And after a dominant 2019 which saw him not only establish himself as one of the Premier League’s most-exciting attackers but also play a key role in Tottenham’s charge to the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League final, Son has now claimed his fifth Best Footballer in Asia crown in six years.
His total of 258 points – 31.6 per cent of the total votes – means he has broken the highest tally of points for the third year running.
Son finished a whopping 144 points ahead of runner-up Akram Afif (114 points) who can take heart in being recognised as the continent’s second-best player in 2019 following his starring displays for Qatar in their AFC Asian Cup triumph.
Takumi Minamino, who recently joined Premier League leaders Liverpool after some scintillating displays for Red Bull Salzburg, could soon be a real challenger to Son’s crown but had to settle for third place this year with 90 points, while Akram’s partner-in-crime for Qatar Almoez Ali (64 points) and Iran and Zenit striker Sardar Azmoun (59 points) round up the top five.
Each member of the panel casts votes for their top five players of the year who receive six, four, three, two and one points respectively.
In the event of a tie on points, the player who received the higher number of higher-placed votes will rank higher – as was the case between 12th-placed Theerathon Bunmathan and 13th-placed Eldor Shomurdov who both garnered ten points, but with the former boasting one second-place vote compared to none for the latter.
Since the inauguration of the Best Footballer in Asia award in 2013, Son has emerged triumphant in five out of seven years, with the only other winners being Keisuke Honda (2013) and Shinji Okazaki (2016).
FINAL STANDINGS OF BEST FOOTBALLER IN ASIA 2019
1) Son Heung-min (Tottenham) – Korea Republic: 258 points
2) Akram Afif (Al Sadd) – Qatar: 114 points
3) Takumi Minamino (Red Bull Salzburg) – Japan: 90 points
4) Almoez Ali (Al Duhail) – Qatar: 64 points
5) Sardar Azmoun (Zenit) – Iran: 58 points
6) Bafetimbi Gomis (Al Hilal) – France: 49 points
7) Wu Lei (Espanyol) – China PR: 29 points
8) Salem Al-Dawsari (Al Hilal) – Saudi Arabia: 26 points
9) Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd) – Algeria: 15 points
10) Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande) – Brazil: 14 points
11) Lee Kang-in (Valencia) – Korea Republic: 13 points
12) Theerathon Bunmathan (Yokohama F. Marinos) – Thailand: 10 points
13) Eldor Shomurodov (Rostov) – Uzbekistan: 10 points
14) Sebastian Giovinco (Al Hilal) – Italy: 9 points
15) Omar Al-Soma (Al Ahli) – Syria: 8 points
16) Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen) – Japan: 8 points
17) Nguyen Quang Hai (Hanoi FC) – Vietnam: 8 points
18) Mathew Ryan (Brighton) – Australia: 7 points
19) Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira) United Arab Emirates: 7 points
20) Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray) – Japan: 5 points
21) Mohanad Ali (Al Shorta & Al Duhail) – Iraq: 4 points
22) Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru) – India: 4 points
23) Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al Hilal) – Saudi Arabia: 2 points
24) Adam Taggart (Brisbane Roar & Suwon Samsung Bluewings) – Australia: 1 point
24) Arslanmyrat Amanow (Lokomotiv Tashkent) – Turkmenistan: 1 point
24) Elkeson (Shanghai SIPG & Guangzhou Evergrande) – China PR: 1 point