FourFourTwo – SINGAPORE, This is it, our countdown of who we believe have been the 10 best Asian footballers across the globe over the past 12 months. There is a mix of experienced players and prodigious youngsters.
10. REZA GHOOCHANNEJHAD
While Iranian young gun Alireza Jahanbakhsh continues to steal headlines in the Eredivisie this season, his countryman Ghoochannejhad has shown that he also has what it takes to be a leading light.
Ghoochannejhad produced 20 goals in the 2016/17 season, finishing second in the Dutch league scoring charts. The 30-year-old has had a quieter season this time round, yet to hit double figures in this campaign.
But when it comes to the leading Asian frontmen in Europe, Ghoochannejhad is right up there with the best of them and Iran will have a potent frontline going into the World Cup. – Matthew Mohan
9. SARDAR AZMOUN
One of Asia’s biggest stars, there has been plenty of speculation as to where Azmoun will go when he leaves Rubin Kazan in Russia.
The 23-year-old has shown time and time again that he can score goals at any stage: Russia, Asia, the Asian Cup, World Cup qualifiers and the UEFA Champions League.
The striker is set to lead the line for Iran at the World Cup and has the capability to score all kinds of goals.
It is no surprise that he has been linked with teams like Liverpool and it is only a matter of time before the big move comes. – John Duerden
3. ALIREZA JAHANBAKHSH
The winger has been one of the best players in the Netherlands this season, an exciting match-winner who AZ Alkmaar fans have taken to their hearts.
The 24-year-old is near the top of the goalscoring charts and has recorded plenty of assists too. In general, he has been excellent.
The Dutch league does not command the profile that it once did, but he is also a star of the Iranian national team and the right-sided attacker will get a chance at the World Cup to show everyone else what the Netherlands has been seeing for some time. – John Duerden