ESPN – LONDON, In a blink of an eye, the summer break is over the 2022-23 European football campaign is upon us.
It is shaping up to be an action-packed season, especially with the first-ever winter¬†FIFA World Cup¬†to take place in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.
Some of Asia’s brightest talents will once again be strutting their stuff across Europe’s top leagues, ranging from the big names looking to stay at the top of their game to the up-and-coming prospects ready to take their chance — and even a forgotten man set to be handed a new lease of life.
Here, we look at one of the continent’s stars to keep a close eye on this season.
Mehdi Taremi (Porto)
Playing in Portugal may mean less of a spotlight for Iranian striker¬†Mehdi Taremi, but that has certainly not stopped him from forcing his way into the spotlight with reigning¬†Primeira Liga¬†champions¬†FC Porto.
Having been named in the league’s Team of the Year for the past three seasons while also claiming the top scorer award in 2019-20, when he was still plying his trade with the more-humble¬†Rio Ave, Taremi has proven to be a player for the big occasion — evident when he scored a spectacular bicycle kick against Chelsea in the¬†Champions League¬†quarterfinals.
The 30-year-old has regularly been linked with some of Europe’s bigger clubs but has remained at Porto for now, and will also look to lead Iran farther than they have ever gone at this year’s World Cup, alongside fellow Europe-based star¬†Sardar Azmoun¬†of¬†Bayer Leverkusen¬†in the¬†Bundesliga.
Team Melli memorably held Portugal to a draw and only lost narrowly to Spain in 2018, as well as beating Morocco, which should give them the belief that they could pull off an upset or two against the likes of¬†England,¬†United States,¬†and¬†Wales¬†in November.