Son Heung-min is now a serious doubt for the World Cup after it was decided that the Tottenham Hotspur forward requires surgery on a fractured eye socket.
Son suffered the gruesome injury in the first half of Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Marseille in the Champions League, when his face collided horribly with the shoulder of opposition defender Chancel Mbemba.
The South Korean was visibly unsteady on his feet and required the help of a physio to walk down the tunnel, although he was later feeling well enough to join the Spurs celebrations in the dressing room.
Spurs have not yet put a timeframe on the forward’s expected return to action but, with the World Cup looming in just a few weeks, his participation is now in question.
South Korea’s World Cup campaign begins with a Group H meeting with Uruguay. They will also face Ghana and Portugal in the group stages.
“We can confirm that Heung-Min Son will undergo surgery to stabilise a fracture around his left eye,” Spurs said in a statement.
“The South Korea international suffered the injury during the first half of Tuesday’s Uefa Champions League victory at Olympique Marseille.
“Following surgery, Son will commence rehabilitation with our medical staff and we shall update supporters further in due course.”
The loss of Son is a significant blow to Antonio Conte, who is already without key forwards Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison due to injury issues.
Son, 30, has not been able to rediscover his best form this season but he remains one of Conte’s most trusted players and would have been expecting to play a major role in this weekend’s clash with Liverpool at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The severity of the issue will determine the length of Son’s absence but he might take encouragement from Kevin De Bruyne’s recovery from a similar injury last year.
De Bruyne suffered fractures to his nose and left eye socket during the Champions League final in May 2021, and underwent minor surgery. He played for Belgium at the European Championships less than three weeks later.