Son Heung-min shortlisted for FIFA World 11 + becomes the first Asian player to be shortlisted
Alvis Benn, Sept. 25, 2019, 9:38 a.m.
Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur ranked 14th among 15 forwards shortlisted for the Men's World 11 by FIFA and FIFPro, the International Federation of Association of Professional Footballers. He is the first Asian player to be shortlisted since the list's inception in 2005.
The annual list names the 11 best footballers according to a vote by "thousands of professional players from around the world." Some 23,000 players from 68 countries participated in this year's vote, each selecting one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards out of 55 contenders shortlisted.
Son was likely recognized for playing a key role in Spurs' runner-up finish in the UEFA Champions League last season. He recorded four goals and an assist, including two goals against Manchester City in the second leg of the quarterfinal, which helped his team reach the semifinals. After finishing the season with 20 goals and nine assists in all competitions for Spurs, he received the Player of the Season and Goal of the Season awards as voted by the club's supporters. He was also named the Premier League Player of the Year at the London Football Awards in February.
Lionel Messi of Barcelona received the most votes among forwards, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.
The final World 11 also includes goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defenders Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo Vieira, and midfielders Eden Hazard, Frenkie de Jong and Luka Modric.
Messi was named the best player of the year for the sixth time. He earlier received the honor in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.