Seoul, South Korea (CNN)A few minutes before Tottenham Hotspur's squad touched down in Seoul on July 10, hundreds of fans gathered at Incheon Airport started screaming out of surprise.
Tottenham's South Korean star Son Heung-min made an unannounced appearance from his vacation to welcome his teammates visiting his home country for a preseason tour.
Local fans reacted to everything Son did -- even an innocuous hand wave.
"Welcome to Seoul," the South Korean forward cheerily said to his teammates as they made their way out of the arrivals terminal to begin their summer tour.
What Tottenham described as a "special" greeting may not be that novel of an experience for its 30-year-old forward.
When Son came home holding his historic Golden Boot in late May, fans greeting him at the airport screamed, "Heung-min, we love you!" as cameras flashed and captured the country's most adored athlete.
From Chuncheon to North London
Son started playing football as a child in Chuncheon, located about 46 miles northeast of Seoul, under his father's supervision.
He was picked as one of six members of the Korea Football Association's (KFA) FA Youth Project in 2009 to join German side Hamburg's youth academy, where he eventually advanced to the first team and made his professional debut at the age of 18.
Son made a name for himself in the Bundesliga, first at Hamburg then at Bayer Leverkusen, where he became the first Korean to score a hat-trick in a major European league.
In 2015, the South Korean star made a big move from Leverkusen to Premier League regular Tottenham, just three days before the summer transfer window closed.
Since then, he has been breaking records set by his role models Park Ji-sung, the first Korean to play in the Premier League and only Asian player to win the UEFA Champions League, and Cha Bum-kun, who played over 300 matches in the Bundesliga for Eintracht Frankfurt and Leverkusen from 1979 to 1989.
In May, Son surpassed Cha's record of 17 goals as the most goals scored by a Korean player in a season in a European league. He also became the first Asian footballer to clinch the Premier League's Golden Boot with 23 goals in the season -- level with Liverpool's Mo Salah.