Tottenham forward Son Heung-Min is a major fitness doubt for the World Cup after Spurs confirmed the South Korea star will undergo surgery to stabilise a fracture around his left eye.
Son was forced off during the first half of Tottenham’s crucial Champions League victory over Marseille on Tuesday following a challenge with defender Chancel Mbemba.
The 30-year-old’s availability for the finals in Qatar will depend on the success of his surgery and the subsequent recovery prognosis, although assistant head coach Cristian Stellini was initially upbeat over his condition, confirming that Son was able to celebrate reaching the Champions League knockout stages with his team-mates at the Stade Velodrome.
An update from Spurs is expected in the coming days.
The World Cup begins on Nov. 20, with South Korea playing their first game on Nov. 24 against Uruguay before finishing out the group stage against Ghana (Nov. 28) and Portugal (Dec. 2).
Son is a key player for a South Korea team looking to make it to the World Cup knockout stage for the first time since 2010. He scored seven goals in 13 games for South Korea in qualifying for Qatar. Son is certain to miss time for Tottenham, who face Premier League games against Liverpool and Leeds as well as a Carabao Cup tie against Nottingham Forest ahead of the World Cup break.
Spurs were already without injured forwards Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski.
Speaking immediately after Tuesday’s game, Stellini said: “Sonny feels better now. I saw him in the dressing room. He celebrated with us. So we will wait for tomorrow.
“It is his face. His eye is a bit swollen.”