The AFC Asian cup has kick-started last weekend and it would be bringing a world of opportunities for many Asian players to prove their worth on a stage which can simply lay down the foundation of their team’s future at the next world cup. Moreover, it would also bring a platform for many new teams and new players taking part in the tournament for the very first time and whilst players like Tim Cahill, Shinji Kagawa, and Keisuke Honda won’t be taking part in the tournament, they will have a big task in hand to prove their prowess.
On the other side, AFC Asian cup would be a chance for most of the teams to make a qualification to the next world cup and when it comes to a team like India, they would like to cash in the given opportunity. As we will be witnessing some of the most exciting football moments alongside, let’s take a look at the top 5 players in AFC Asian Cup.
#1 Wu Lei ( China )
China would be representing a big challenge amongst all the other teams in this Asian cup and when it comes to picking one of the most significant players in their team, Wu lei would be coming right on top of the list for some good reasons. He was amongst the most sought after players in the Chinese super league last years and played a crucial role in the title glory for the Shanghai SIPGs. As a matter of fact, Wu has come out to be the top scorer in the league whilst netting 27 goals in 29 games last year.
Although he hasn’t been as impressive in his national colors and only scored 13 goals so far in the 59 games he has played for the team, this CSL player of the season cannot be counted out to turn the tables for the national team as well. Being a player, he is loaded with swiftness, skill set and everything which an impactful forward must be loaded with to perform on the football pitch. Although he is linked to a probable switch to the EPL side Wolverhampton Wanderers in the recent past, a lot would depend on his performances in the coming times.
#2 Son Heung Min (South Korea)
If we have to pick out the most anticipated player in the AFC Asian league, it has to be the South Korean Son Heung min that has impressed everyone with his splendid performance in the recent world cup in Russia. It was him only who has scored that stunning goal against Mexico and also played a crucial part in kicking out defending champions Germany from the coveted championship. It was his magic only that South Korea has put his hand on the Asian championship and whilst he is doing all the wonders with his current stint with the EPL team Tottenham Hotspurs, he has scored 7 goals in as many appearances recently.image source
Son was first noticed with his prolific performances when he took his team to the Asian cup finals in Australia and it was due to the same only, he was roped in by the EPL team to join their squad for this season. Although he won’t be featuring for the first two matches in the Asian cup due to an ongoing deal with the EPL club his stint with the team for the rest of the tournament would more or less decide the team’s fate in this event.
#3 Ali Mabkhout (UAE)
Ali Makhbout is phenomenal for his national team in the recent past and he was one of the reasons why the UAE team reached the semi-final stages in the last Asian Cup. He was that one player who has bagged the 2015 Asian player of the year and also scored that stunning goal in the third playoff within the same season. It was his goals against the Bahrain side in the last Asian cup ( 14 seconds) which was named the fastest goal in the history of the Asian Cup.image source
This prolific player has scored 44 goals for UAE in his career of 65 matches and currently plays for the Al Jazeera club in the country. He would be the one who will be carrying all those big hopes for the country in the midst of all the hype and speculations around.
#4 Maya Yoshida (Japan)
Although Japan and its coach would be fielding a young side this time in the Asian Cup, the experience of Maya Yoshida would surely come into the picture for the Japanese team. Ever since he has made his debut in the Japanese team in 2010, this player has been a regular with the team and their challenge towards most of the tournaments in the process. Whilst the Japan team would be counting high on their young striking force this Asian cup, their defensive responsibilities would be lying on the experienced shoulders of Maya Yoshida.image source
He was one of the biggest reason why Japan qualified for the last 16 of the world cup 2018 in Russia and although they lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals, the Japanese team has left an everlasting impression on the football world. He will be the captain for the Japanese team this time and would be all set to counter the challenge form all the other Asian superpowers.
#5 Matthew Ryan (Australia)
Whilst we have talked a lot about the midfielders, strikers, and defenders, Matthew Ryan would be the one who would be taking care of the goalkeeping responsibilities for the team in yellow this time. He is One of the top class goalkeepers featuring in the Asian cup who is also playing in the EPL for the Brighton club and whilst he has been phenomenal with the team in the past few years. image source
He first came into limelight whilst playing for the Central coast mariners team in Australia’s A league and then played for several top class teams like Brugge and Valencia before finalizing a switch to Brighton in 2017.he is terrific in front of the goal for the national team whilst being a part for their Asian Cup-winning campaign last time. This time also, he would be there with all the hype and big expectation from the Australian fans across the globe.