South Korean football fans have subjected Marseille’s Chancel Mbemba to a torrent of abuse online, some of it racist, and demanded he apologise to Son Heung-min with the forward’s World Cup in doubt.
South Korea’s skipper and talisman will have surgery on a fracture around his left eye after a collision with Mbemba in Spurs’ 2-1 win at Marseille on Tuesday in the Champions League.
The Premier League club have given no date for Son’s return, but he faces a race against time to be fit for South Korea’s opening match of the World Cup against Uruguay on November 24.
Angry Korean fans blamed Mbemba after Son’s face made painful contact with the Congolese defender’s shoulder. A groggy Son was substituted.
South Korean supporters have left thousands of messages on Mbemba’s Instagram page in both English and Korean.
“You must apologise to Son, his World Cup dream is over now,” said one typical message.
“Don’t you feel ashamed of your disrespectful actions against Son?” said another.
Other posts contained expletives and several were racist.
But there was support also for the 28-year-old Mbemba, with one post saying: “I am Korean. I am not good at English, but I wrote it in English because I wanted to convey this message.
“I am also one of the Koreans who is upset by Son Heung-min’s injury, but I am one of the Koreans who knows that it was not your intention.
“It was an accident that could happen during a soccer game.
“I hope you don’t get hurt by malicious comments.”
Son has scored 35 goals in 106 international appearances and won gold at the Asian Games in 2018, a medal which secured him an exemption from national service.