South Korea fell short in the Asian Cup at the penultimate hurdle, unexpectedly losing 2-0 to Jordan. Like most footballers, Sonny has the utmost respect for his nation and those who support the South Korean team.
But unlike most, Sonny puts the hopes and dreams of an entire country on his shoulders. Like 51 million South Koreans, he felt the anguish and disappointment and apologized profusely for coming up short.
His upstanding character transcends the sport. Whether for South Korea or Tottenham, Sonny bleeds for his team, his people. Tottenham supporters have been lucky enough to witness Sonny's greatness since he arrived in 2015-16. His exceptional on-field play is one thing to celebrate, but how he conducts himself off the pitch is unquestionably more extraordinary.
Humble, down to earth, and appreciative of the life he leads, Sonny consistently pays it forward, always putting the collective first. It's why he'll go down as one of Tottenham's best-ever captains. While his accolades and achievements on the pitch and the fact that he's in the midst of his first season as captain don't support that statement, at least currently, his off-the-field persona certainly does.
No player is loved, respected, and revered more by teammates and supporters. You'll be hard-pressed to find an elite athlete in football, let alone another sport, who is more genuine, altruistic, and empathetic. Combine that with his otherworldly skill set, and you have a demigod amongst mortals.
Welcome back, Sonny. Tottenham Hotspur is lucky to have you. I have no doubt you'll seamlessly step back into the fold and ensure Tottenham returns to the Champions League. But more importantly, you'll accomplish the feat with pure class and humility.