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European soccer giants head back to Asia after COVID-induced break

Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham among those kicking off preseason tours to region

Tottenham's Son Heung-min is arguably the most recognizable South Korean in any field, anywhere. The English Premier League team is looking to cash in on that star power on its visit to Seoul.   © Reuters

LONDON -- The Korean language was being butchered at Tottenham Hotspur's leafy North London training ground in mid-May. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was recording a video message telling fans that the captain was looking forward to visiting Seoul in July for an exhibition game against a South Korean select 11.

The face on all the posters at the media event, however, was Son Heung-min. The Tottenham attacker is one of the biggest stars in the English Premier League, the most popular and lucrative domestic soccer league in the world, and is arguably the most recognizable South Korean in any field, anywhere. He is also a major reason why 66,000 tickets to see Tottenham's game this Wednesday at the Seoul World Cup Stadium were snapped up within 25 minutes of going on sale in June. "I can't wait to play in front of Korean fans for Tottenham," Son said. "I hope to play well. It is a big game for us."

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