Tottenham's Son Heung-min targets Olympic gold with South Korea
South Korea international Son Heung-Min has apologised to his Tottenham Hotspur teammates for missing the start of the Premier League season in his bid to win Olympic gold in Rio.
Son, 24, was selected as one of his country's three players over the age of 23 and he travelled straight to Brazil from Spurs' training camp in Melbourne following Friday's 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Although the group stage of the Olympic football tournament finishes before the start of the Premier League season, South Korea -- who won the bronze medal in London four years ago -- will hope to challenge for a medal again.
The final takes place at the Maracana on Aug. 20, so the forward would miss at least the opening two games against Everton and Crystal Palace should South Korea go all the way.
"First of all, I'm sorry for the team because I'm going to miss the first game of the season," Son told Spurs' official website. "I've had a very good time in the first four weeks of preseason with the team, the gaffer and the coaching staff.
"Now I'm excited to go to Rio and to play for South Korea. This is very special for me, my first time at the Olympics.
"I watched the Olympics in 2012 in London and there were so many great performances there, so many people, so many sports. Everyone is excited. It's a great feeling."
South Korea's first game is against Fiji on Thursday, with fixtures against Germany and Mexico to follow. But Son wants to make sure he is still in Brazil to play in one of the medal matches at the Maracana.
"If that wasn't the case there would be no point going," Son said. "I want to get a medal for South Korea.
"I run for South Korea every time, the same as I run for Tottenham. I'm not going there just to have fun and enjoy it, I want to win an Olympic medal as well."
Son was given permission by Spurs to attend the Olympics earlier this summer, with the club persuaded by a South Korean policy that Olympic medalists are exempt from the country's compulsory two-year military service.