‘Son-aldo!’: Mourinho salutes South Korean’s wonder-goal
Jose Mourinho hailed Son Heung-min's wonder-strike in Tottenham's 5-0 thrashing of Burnley as the best goal he has seen since an equally stunning effort from Brazilian legend Ronaldo.
Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (L) speaks with Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 7, 2019. (Photo by Ian KINGTON / AFP)
On the day he was presented with the AFC Asian International Player of the Year award by compatriot Park Ji-sung, Son underlined his place among the game’s elite with arguably the greatest goal of his glittering career.
With Spurs already rampant after early goals from Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, Son stole the show before half-time in north London when he ran from deep inside his own half past a host of Burnley defenders and capped the astonishing burst with an ice-cool finish.
Son’s 77 goals in Spurs colours since his 2015 move from Bayer Leverkusen have featured some memorable moments but none have been quite as dazzling as this one.
The 27-year-old winger’s 10th goal of the season ranks among the best ever scored by a Tottenham player, alongside Ricky Villa’s 1981 FA Cup final gem and Gareth Bale’s Champions League classic against Inter Milan in 2010.
Fans on social media compared the goal to classics from Lionel Messi and George Weah, but Tottenham boss Mourinho recalled a sublime solo strike from Ronaldo during his time as a Barcelona assistant.
“Before this goal my son calls him Son-aldo and today he was Son-aldo!” Mourinho said.
“This was an amazing goal. I know that he is going to reach the face of the keeper, his control is unstoppable. The keeper is good, but he managed to put it in.
“The only thing that compares was when I was at Barcelona with Bobby Robson. Ronaldo Nazario, Compostela against Barcelona, 1996.
“Ronaldo got the ball near the halfway line and scored a similar goal, an amazing goal.”
After working with Son for just a few weeks since replacing Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho has already developed an extra appreciation for a player he had always admired from afar.
“From the outside I had the feeling about him. I remember speaking with Sir Alex (Ferguson) about Park Ji-sung. It is a cultural thing. They like to learn, they are very humble,” Mourinho said.
“I met his parents. I understand where it comes from. The kid is fantastic. I am so happy.”
– Unselfish Son –
Always modest and unselfish, Son claimed he had wanted to pass rather than go on his epic run.
“When I got the ball and tried to pass it to Dele (Alli) but I couldn’t find him so I just kept going. I am happy to score this goal,” Son told a television interview while Mourinho shouted “give him the man of the match” in the background.
Tottenham captain Kane benefitted from Son’s excellence as the first of his two goals came from the South Korean’s assist.
And Kane was quick to pay tribute to Son’s headline-grabbing performance.
“Sonny stole the show today. An unbelievable goal, a great counter attack,” he said.
“All he wants to do is work hard and play for the team. He has great quality and works hard for the team.”
Tottenham’s biggest Premier League win of the season was a welcome tonic for Mourinho after his 100 percent start came to an end at his former club Manchester United in midweek.
“The performance was important, happiness for the fans, happiness for the team, a clean-sheet. I am really happy,” said Mourinho, whose side are up to fifth place.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche was less keen to join the praise for Son, preferring to blame his players for not fouling the winger before he got close to the penalty area.
“It’s at source we didn’t deal with it. Once he gets running, it’s time for a technical foul. We are not good at that and didn’t do it,” Dyche said.
“Of course from his point of view it is a fantastic goal.”