Asian Football Confederation Best Players of All Time

Andrew Kovacs

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body for association football, beach soccer and futsal in Asia. It was founded in 1954 with its headquarters located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and consists of 47 member countries that span across Asia and Oceania. The membership includes Australia who joined AFC after leaving OFC, as well as Guam and Northern Mariana Islands which are both territories of the United States. The organization works to promote football by organizing major tournaments such as the AFC Champions League while also developing strategies to improve youth development programs throughout their memberships so they can become competitive on a global level.

Table of Contents

1. Son Heung-min

Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Son Heung-min Career

  • 2006–2007: Yukminkwan Middle School
  • 2007: Dongbuk Middle School
  • 2008: FC Seoul
  • 2008–2010: Hamburger SV
  • 2010: Hamburger SV II
  • 2010–2013: Hamburger SV
  • 2013–2015: Bayer Leverkusen
  • 2015: Tottenham Hotspur
  • 2008–2009: South Korea U17
  • 2016: South Korea Olympic (OA)
  • 2018: South Korea Asian Games (OA)
  • 2010: South Korea

Son Heung-min is a South Korean footballer who currently plays for Tottenham Hotspur. Son began his career with FC Seoul before joining Hamburger SV in 2010.

Son made his debut for the Korea Republic at the age of 18 and has since represented the nation at various tournaments, including the 2014 World Cup and 2018 Asian Cup.

In 2017, Son signed for Spurs on a five-year deal worth £25 million (US$32 million). Son is known for his speed and ability to score goals from distance, having scored 33 in all competitions so far during his career.

Having been part of several successful teams throughout his playing career - including winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles with Hamburger SV -Son is considered one of Germany's most talented players ever born in Asia.

 Son Heung-min is a South Korean international footballer who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Son was born on December 17, 1995, and began playing football at an early age with his local club Bucheon SK before joining Bayer Leverkusen in Germany as a teenager. 

At Leverkusen, Son made 62 appearances over two seasons before signing for Tottenham Hotspur in 2015 where he has since become one of the most prolific strikers in Europe.

In 2018, Son helped lead South Korea to their first Asian Games gold medal since 2002 by scoring six goals during the tournament including a hat-trick against Malaysia which clinched victory on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the final stages of the competition. 

Son is also renowned for his dribbling skills and acceleration into space; making him difficult to defend against both from close range and further out on the pitch.

2. Zheng Zhi

China national football team

Zheng Zhi Career

  • 1990–2000: Liaoning F.C.
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1998–2000: Liaoning Liaoqing: 4: (0)
  • 2001–2004: Shenzhen Jianlibao: 82: (13)
  • 2005–2007: Shandong Luneng Taishan: 45: (31)
  • 2007: → Charlton Athletic (loan): 12: (1)
  • 2007–2009: Charlton Athletic: 55: (8)
  • 2009–2010: Celtic: 16: (1)
  • 2010–: Guangzhou: 215: (15)
  • 2008: China Olympic (O.P.): 2: (0)
  • 2002–2019: China: 108: (15)
  • 2019: Guangzhou Evergrande (caretaker)
  • 2021: Guangzhou (caretaker)
  • 2022–: Guangzhou
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 26 December 2020, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 1 December 2019

Zheng Zhi is a midfielder who currently plays for Guangzhou. Zheng started his career with Liaoning FC in 1990, and he spent the majority of his career there before moving to Guangzhou in 2013.

Zheng has represented China at international level on multiple occasions, most notably at the AFC Asian Cup where he helped China reach the final. Despite being 37 years old, Zheng remains an important part of Guangzhou's squad and could feature again this season if needed by manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Alongside fellow midfielders such as Sun Jihai and Gao Linzhao, Zheng is one of Guangzhou's key players that help them compete against teams such as Shanghai SIPG and Tianjin Quanjian in the Chinese Super League (CSL). 

Although still relatively young compared to some other players within the CSL, age may start to catch up with Zheng over time due to injury or fatigue; however, he remains an important member of Guanduang Fuda Football Club nonetheless.

3. Ahmed Khalil

Al Ain FC

Ahmed Khalil Career

  • 2001–2006: Al Ahli
  • 2006–2017: Al Ahli
  • 2017–2018: Al Jazira
  • 2018: Al Ain
  • 2018–2022: Shabab Al Ahli
  • 2022: Al Bataeh
  • 2004–2006: United Arab Emirates U17
  • 2006–2010: United Arab Emirates U20
  • 2010–2014: United Arab Emirates U23
  • 2008: United Arab Emirates

Ahmed Khalil is a forward who played for Al Bataeh in the UAE Premier League. Ahmed was born in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on 8 June 1991. He started his career with local side Al Ahli before joining Abu Dhabi club Al Jazira in 2006.

After two years at Jazira, he signed for Egyptian side Al-Ahly where he spent six seasons before moving to Qatar'sAl Ain in 2018. 

Ahmed has represented the UAE at youth level and won an Olympic silver medal with the national team at the 2012 London Olympics.[1] Ahmed Khalil is a professional footballer who has played for clubs in the United Arab Emirates and internationally for the UAE national team.

Ahmed started his footballing career with Shabab Al Ahli before moving to Al Bataeh in 2022. He has represented the UAE at several international tournaments, including the Asian Games and AFC Asian Cup. 

Ahmed is known for his pace and attacking play, which have seen him score goals both domestically and internationally. 

Ahmed is an exciting player to watch due to his creativity on the pitch as well as his willingness to take risks; he will be crucial if Al Bataeh are to progress in their domestic league this season.

Also Played For: united arab emirates

4. Saeed Al-Owairan


  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1988–2001: Al-Shabab: : (60)
  • 1991–1998: Saudi Arabia: 75: (24)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Saeed Al-Owairan is an attacking midfielder and forward who played for Saudi Arabia at the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups. He was part of the Riyadh side that won back to back league titles in 1995 and 1996.

Saeed's international career took off after he helped Saudi Arabia qualify for their first ever World Cup finals tournament in 1994. 

In 1990, Saeed scored twice as Saudi Arabia beat Tunisia 3–1 in a Group C match at the World Cup Finals in Italy to book their place on showpiece day - only to lose 1–0 against Argentina later that same day.

His second goal came during a 2–1 win over Sweden which saw him score from outside the penalty area with just six minutes remaining in regulation time.

This proved decisive as it helped secure qualification for Round Two of qualifying play where they topped Group D alongside eventual finalists Uruguay courtesy of two away victories (2–0 v Costa Rica followed by a 4–0 hammering of Paraguay).

As Saudis qualified for their third consecutive World Cup finals tournament appearance, Saeed was named Asian Football Confederation Player of The Year following his performances throughout the qualifying campaign, including goals against.

India (a 5th-minute opener before doubling Riyadh's lead ten minutes from time) and Australia (a brace within 17 minutes either side of halftime – one an audacious 25-yarder into the top corner past Peter Filigno whilst receiving treatment on crutches having fractured his ankle midway through half-time vs Melbourne Victory FC).

7 Finally capped by being included within Roy Hodgson’s 23-man England squad traveling to France ahead of Euro 96™ but didn't make an appearance due to an injury sustained playing club football.

With Montpellier HB – although did manage three substitute appearances without scoring coming off the bench en route to helping Montpellier reach Ligue 1 Final which they eventually lost 2nd Leg 2−1 v Olympique de Marseille courtesy penalties shootout.

Overall finishing joint runner up behind champions PSG along with Olympic Lyon teammate Youri Djorkaeff & Brazilian winger Romário making it four overseas players competing in French top flight competition concurrently during calendar year 95/96 season.

8 After finally appearing again under Hodgson's tutelage eleven months later when starting all three group matches at UEFA EURO 96™ qualifiers versus San Marino, Switzerland then Andorra despite picking up another injury setback suffered while training prior thereto.

5. Server Djeparov

Uzbekistan national football team

Server Djeparov Career

  • 1997–2000: Navbahor Namangan
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2000–2001: Navbahor Namangan: 46: (7)
  • 2001–2007: Pakhtakor Tashkent: 96: (64)
  • 2007–2010: Bunyodkor: 46: (38)
  • 2010: → FC Seoul (loan): 16: (1)
  • 2011: FC Seoul: 15: (0)
  • 2011–2013: Al-Shabab: 25: (4)
  • 2013–2014: Seongnam FC: 55: (13)
  • 2015: Ulsan Hyundai: 22: (6)
  • 2016–2017: Lokomotiv Tashkent: 23: (7)
  • 2017–2018: Esteghlal: 27: (4)
  • 2017: → Sepahan (loan): 10: (1)
  • 2018: Zhetysu: 5: (1)
  • 2019: Metallurg Bekabad: 9: (2)
  • Total: : 395: (148)
  • 2002–2017: Uzbekistan: 128: (25)
  • 2020–: Uzbekistan U-17
  • 2020–: Uzbekistan (assistant coach)
  • 2022: Lokomotiv Tashkent
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Djeparov is a Uzbekistani attacking midfielder who has played for Pakhtakor Tashkent and Uzbekistan U-17. Djeparov made his senior international debut in 2001 and has since appeared in 96 games, scoring 64 goals.

Djeparov was appointed head coach of Uzbekistan's under-17 side earlier this year. He is known for his dribbling skills and hardworking attitude on the pitch Djeparov is an Uzbekistan international footballer who has played for Bunyodkor since 2007.

He joined FC Seoul on loan in 2011 and helped them win the K-League title that year. In 2013, he moved to Al-Shabab but left after four seasons due to injury concerns. Djeparov then signed with Seongnam FC where he won the Korean FA Cup in 2015 and 2017 before joining Esteghlal in 2018.

He has also spent time on loan at Sepahan and Metallurg Bekabad this season respectively, both of which have ended with relegation from Iran's top flight league, Azadegan League.

After a successful spell managing Uzbekistan U-17s, Djeparov was appointed assistant coach of his country's senior team ahead of 2020 World Cup qualification matches against Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan later this month.

6. Omar Khribin

Syria national football team

Omar Khribin Career

  • 2004–2009: Al-Wahda (Damascus)
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2009–2017: Al-Wahda (Damascus): : (9)
  • 2013–2015: → Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya (loan): 30: (11)
  • 2015–2016: → Al-Mina'a (loan): 10: (10)
  • 2016–2017: → Al-Dhafra (loan): 25: (16)
  • 2017: → Al-Hilal (loan): 10: (7)
  • 2017–2021: Al-Hilal: 45: (14)
  • 2019: → Pyramids (loan): 12: (6)
  • 2021–: Al-Wahda (Abu Dhabi): 35: (23)
  • 2022–: → Shabab Al Ahli (loan): 9: (3)
  • 2016: Syria U23: 3: (3)
  • 2012–: Syria: 51: (20)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 6 December 2022, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 1 February 2022

Omar Khribin is a Syrian football player who currently plays for Shabab Al Ahli. He started his career with Al-Wahda and has since played for several clubs in the Middle East, most recently Shabab Al Ahli on loan from Abu Dhabi's al-Wahda.

In international competition, Khribin has represented Syria at both youth and senior levels and was part of the team that reached the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup tournament. Known as an attacking midfielder or forward, Omar Khribin is highly rated within his sport and is widely considered one of Syria's best players.

Omar Khribin is a versatile attacking player who can play as either an attacking midfielder or forward. He started his career with Al-Wahda, before moving to Damascus rivals Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in 2013 on loan. 

In 2015, he joined Emirati side Al-Mina'a on a season long loan deal and enjoyed great success scoring 10 goals in just 10 appearances.

The following year he rejoined his former club Al-Wahda for the 2016–17 campaign where he scored 16 times in 25 games played. In 2017 Omar transferred to the Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal on a one-year loan deal and was very successful, netting 7 goals in 12 appearances during that time period alone. 

He then moved back to Syria once again joining reigning champions Abu Dhabi's newly formed side al Wahda for the 2018–19 season which saw him score 23 goals over 35 matches.

This summer Omar signed another one year contract extension with al Hilal until 2021 after impressing club officials once again this season with 9 goals in 18 appearances so far.

7. Fan Zhiyi

Fan Zhiyi Career

  • 1987: Shanghai Shenhua
  • 1988–1989: Chinese National B Team
  • 1990–1992: Chinese Olympic Development Team
  • 1992–1993: Shanghai Shenhua
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1994–1998: Shanghai Shenhua: 99: (31)
  • 1998–2001: Crystal Palace: 88: (4)
  • 2001–2002: Dundee: 14: (2)
  • 2002: Shanghai COSCO Huili: 12: (4)
  • 2002–2003: Cardiff City: 6: (0)
  • 2003–2004: Buler Rangers: 9: (1)
  • 2004–2005: Shanghai Zobon: 30: (6)
  • 2005–2006: Buler Rangers: 5: (0)
  • Total: : 263: (48)
  • 1992–2002: China: 106: (17)
  • 2003–2004: Buler Rangers (assistant)
  • 2004–2005: Shanghai Zobon (assistant)
  • 2005–2006: Buler Rangers (assistant)
  • 2006–2007: Suzhou Trips (assistant)
  • 2008–2009: Shanghai East Asia (assistant)
  • 2010: Shanghai East Asia
  • 2016–: Shanghai Shenhua reserve

Fan Zhiyi is a defender who has played for Shanghai Shenhua, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City. Fan Zhiyi has represented China at the international level and was part of the team that competed in the 1992 Olympics.

In 2002, Fan moved to COSCO Huili where he helped them win the Chinese FA Cup that year. After two seasons with COSCO Huili, Fan joined Dundee in 2003 where he made six appearances before retiring from football later that year due to injury Fan Zhiyi was an assistant manager with Shanghai East Asia during the 2010 season.

He then became an assistant coach with Shenhua in 2016, and has since been promoted to reserve team manager. Fan is a well-respected football figure within China, having played for his country 106 times over a 17-year international career. 

His managerial experience includes stints as an assistant at Buler Rangers (2003–2004) and Shanghai Zobon (2004–2005).

8. Nawaf Al-Temyat

Al Hilal SFC

Nawaf Al-Temyat Career

  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1994–2008: Al-Hilal: :
  • 1998–2006: Saudi Arabia: 63: (11)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Nawaf Al-Temyat is a Saudi Arabian television presenter and actor. Nawaf was born in 1976 in Saudi Arabia. He has worked as a TV presenter for the Arabic channel MBC since 2006 and also appears on other networks like Rotana Khalijia, LBC, al-Shaab TV, etc.

In 2010, he married actress Wajeha Al-Huwaider. Together they have one child. Nawaf is currently based in Dubai.

Nawaf Al-Temyat is a midfielder who has played for Al-Hilal since 1994. He has represented Saudi Arabia internationally and was part of their 1998 World Cup squad.

Nawaf is an experienced player, having racked up 63 appearances and 11 goals in the club competition during his career so far. 

His most successful season came in 2006 when he helped lead Al-Hilal to the Arabian Gulf League title and also reached the final of the King's Cup, where they were beaten by Persepolis FC on penalties after a 1–1 draw in normal time.

Nawaf retired from professional football at the end of 2008 following stints with two lower league clubs but continues to play amateur football as he looks ahead to another chance at representing his country later in life.

9. Hamad Al-Montashari

Al-Ittihad Club

Hamad Al-Montashari Career

  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2001–2016: Al-Ittihad: 300: (61)
  • 2002–2011: Saudi Arabia: 54: (8)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of June 22, 2011, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of June 22, 2011

Hamad Al-Montashari was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on June 22nd 1982. Hamad Montashari is a professional footballer who currently plays for Al Arabi as a striker.

Hamad has represented his country at various levels and won several honours including the King's Cup in 2009 and 2010 with Saudi Arabia A team, scoring the winning goal in the final of both tournaments against Bahrain respectively.

In November 2012 he joined Umm Salal SC on loan from Al Arabi until January 2013 but returned to his parent club after just six months due to an injury sustained early into pre season training which ruled him out for up to six months.

He then moved permanently to Umm Salal SC ahead of their first ever season in Qatar Stars League where they finished 5th overall behind champions Lekhwiya DohaSC, runners up AL Gharafa and third placed Aspire Zone Khasab Club. 

His impressive performances during his spell at Umm Salal saw him linked with moves away from Doha however he decided instead to stay put and rejoin former side Al Arabi effective on 1 July 2014.

10. Sasa Ognenovski

Australia national football team

Sasa Ognenovski is a Serbian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college ball at Kansas, where he was named an All-American in 2006 and 2007.

Ognenovski was drafted with the 38th overall pick by New Orleans Hornets in 2007 NBA draft. In 2009, he transferred to Milwaukee Bucks and helped them reach the Eastern Conference Finals that year before being traded to Sacramento Kings in February 2013.

Ognenovski has scored over 20,000 points in his career, making him one of only six players ever to score 20,000 or more points playing primarily inside the three-point line (.464 from downtown). 

In 2015–16 season he won his first championship with Sacramento as they defeated Golden State Warriors 4 games to 1 in the playoffs.

11. Alireza Beiranvand

Iran national football team

Alireza Beiranvand Career

  • 2007–2008: Vahdat
  • 2008–2016: Naft Tehran
  • 2010–2016: Naft Tehran
  • 2016–2020: Persepolis
  • 2020–2022: Royal Antwerp
  • 2021–2022: Boavista (loan)
  • 2022: Persepolis
  • 2010–2012: Iran U20
  • 2012–2014: Iran U23
  • 2014: Iran
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 5 January 2023, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 29 November 2022

Alireza Beiranvand became a first-team regular for Persepolis in 2018. He started his career with Vahdat before moving to Iranian giants Persépolis. Beiranvand is a goalkeeper, and has represented Iran at the international level including the 2018 World Cup where they reached the quarter-finals.

In 2017 he was named Persia's Footballer of the Year following some impressive performances for Persepolis in the Iran Pro League season which ended with them as runners up to Esteghlal Tehran FC in the league championship play-offs.

Alireza Beiranvand is a Iranian professional footballer who plays for Persepolis in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

He started his career with Naft Tehran before joining Persepolis in 2016. Beiranvand has played internationally for Iran since 2010 and has made 54 appearances for them to date. 

The full-back is known for his pace and attacking ability on the pitch, which have seen him score 10 goals in 89 appearances for Persepolis so far. Beiranvand can also play as a winger or forward, making him an extremely versatile player who is capable of playing any position on the field well.

Alireza Birananvand will be looking to help Persepolis win their fourth consecutive league title this season when they take on Sepahan later this month.

Also Played For: iran national football team

12. Wu Lei

Shanghai Port F.C.

Wu Lei Career

  • 2003–2005: Genbao Football Base
  • 2006–2018: Shanghai SIPG
  • 2019–2022: Espanyol
  • 2022: Shanghai Port
  • 2007–2008: China U17
  • 2009–2010: China U20
  • 2010: China

Wu Lei began his professional career with Shanghai Port in the Chinese Super League. Wu Wei scored twice during Shanghai's 3-1 victory over Guangzhou Evergrande on 12 September 2018, helping secure a spot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup for China.

Wu was born in Nanjing and started playing football at the age of six with local side Genbao Football Base. 

He made his senior debut for Jiangsu Sainty in 2009 and went on to make over 150 appearances for them before joining Shanghai Port ahead of the 2017 season.

Wu has represented China at international level, making his debut against Thailand in 2014 and appearing at both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics as part of their squads respectively Wu Lei is a prolific striker with Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League.

He has scored 151 goals in 296 appearances for the club and helped them win two East Asian Football Championships. Wu Lei was born in 1988, and started his career at Guangzhou R&F before moving to Shanghai SIPG in 2007. 

Since joining the club, he has won numerous honours, including two East Asian Football Championships (2010 and 2015).

Wu Lei's international career began when he represented China at youth level, winning an East Asian Championship title in 2010. He made his senior debut that year and went on to make 79 appearances for China over a six-year period. 

In January 2019, Wu Lei announced that he would be leaving Shanghai SIPG at the end of the season to join Spanish side Espanyol on a three-and-a-half year deal worth €10 million (£8m/$11m).

Also Played For: chinese super league

13. Farhad Majidi

Bahman F.C.

Farhad Majidi Career

  • : Parchin Industries
  • : Keshavarz
  • : Bahman
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1995–1997: Bahman: :
  • 1997–2000: Esteghlal: :
  • 2000: → Rapid Wien (loan): 12: (2)
  • 2000–2006: Al-Wasl Dubai: : (68)
  • 2003: → Al-Ain (loan): 0: (0)
  • 2006: → Al-Ahli (loan): : (6)
  • 2006–2007: Al-Nasr Dubai: 11: (2)
  • 2007: → Al-Ahli Dubai (loan): 8: (1)
  • 2007–2011: Esteghlal: 138: (46)
  • 2011–2012: Al Gharrafa: 13: (7)
  • 2012–2013: Esteghlal: 21: (7)
  • 1996–2011: Iran[2]: 45: (10)
  • 2018–2019: Espanyol-U16 (assistant)[3]
  • 2018–2019: Esteghlal (assistant)
  • 2019: Iran U23
  • 2019–2020: Esteghlal
  • 2021–2022: Esteghlal
  • 2022–: Al-Ittihad Kalba
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Farhad Majidi is an Iranian attacking midfielder who has played for several top Iranian clubs over the course of his career. He joined Al-Ittihad Kalba in December 2021 and made an immediate impact, scoring a goal in his debut match against Esteghlal FC.

Farhad Majidi is passionate about football and loves to help his team win games. In 2006, he was awarded the Iran Football Federation's Best Player Award after helping Keshavarz achieve promotion to the Azadegan League that year. 

Farhad Majidi retired from professional football at the end of the 2016–17 season but still retains a passion for playing amateur matches with friends and family members Farhad Majidi is an Iranian football manager and former player.

He has managed Espanyol-U16, Esteghlal, Iran U23 and Al Ittihad Kalba since 2018. As a player he played for Esteghlal from 1996 to 2001 before joining Rapid Vienna in Austria on loan for two seasons. 

After retiring as a player he served as assistant coach at Esteghlal until 2019 when he was appointed manager of Iran U23.

14. Mohamed Al-Deayea

Saudi Arabia national football team

Mohamed Al-Deayea Career

  • : Al-Ta'ee
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1989–1999: Al-Ta'ee: 176: (0)
  • 1999–2010: Al-Hilal: 230: (3)
  • Total: : 406: (3)
  • 1993–2006: Saudi Arabia: 178[1]: (0)

Mohamed Al-Deayea is a Saudi Arabian goalkeeper who has played for both Al-Ta'ee and Al-Hilal. He made his debut for Al Ta'ee in 1989, at the age of just 16, and stayed with them until 1999 when he moved to Hilal.

During his time with Hilal, he was part of their team that won the 2003 AFC Champions League and reached the final of the 2006 AFC Champions League where they lost 2–1 to Manchester United. 

In 2010, Mohamed joined Qatari club Al Sadd SC on a one year contract but returned to Hilal six months later following a dispute over wages with his new club.

Since returning to Saudi Arabia in 2011, Mohamed has been playing for Riyadh FC in the Saudi Premier league where they finished as runners-up last season behind champions.

Ettifaq SC Mohamed Al-Deayea represented Saudi Arabia at the international level for nearly a decade, playing in four AFC Asian Cup tournaments and reaching the final once. He began his career with hometown club Al-Hilal before moving to Riyadh rivals Ettifaq SC in 1993.

Deayea was part of Ettifaq's championship-winning side in 1994, scoring twice as they defeated Al Ahli 2–1 to lift their first-ever title. 

He moved abroad again in 1996, joining UAE champions Sharjah Club where he helped them reach the 1996 AFC Asian Cup Final against hosts Malaysia; however, they were beaten 3–0 after extra time. 

In 1998 he signed for Lebanese powerhouse AEL Limassol where he spent two seasons before returning home to play for Al Hilal between 2002 and 2004 (winning another league title).

After retiring from football Deeya moved into management with Mohammed bin Rashid Sports City before being appointed manager of Saudi Region 1 side Najran FC in early 2017.

15. Lee Kang-in

Valencia CF Juvenil A

Lee Kang-in Career

  • 2009: Incheon United
  • 2011: Flyings FC
  • 2011–2017: Valencia
  • 2017–2019: Valencia B
  • 2018–2021: Valencia
  • 2021: Mallorca
  • 2017–2019: South Korea U20
  • 2021: South Korea U23
  • 2019: South Korea

Lee Kang-in is a South Korean attacking midfielder who currently plays for Mallorca. Lee was born on 19 February 2001 in Incheon and started his youth career with Incheon United before joining Flyings FC in 2011.

Lee had a successful time at Valencia, winning the Copa del Rey twice (2013, 2015) as well as helping them to reach the UEFA Champions League group stages in both 2013 and 2016.

After impressing at Valencia, Lee joined Spanish giants Barcelona for around €25 million (£21 million/$29 million) in 2017 but failed to make an impact and left after one season back to Mallorca where he has continued to be a key player this term.

At 21 years old, Lee is already considered one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe and has huge potential for further success if he can keep up his current level of play.

Also Played For: fifa u-20 world cup, youth soccer

16. Sardar Azmoun

Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Sardar Azmoun Career

  • 2004–2008: Oghab Gonbad
  • 2008–2009: Shamoushak Gorgan
  • 2009–2010: Etka Gorgan
  • 2010–2013: Sepahan
  • 2013–2016: Rubin Kazan
  • 2015–2016: Rostov (loan)
  • 2016–2017: Rostov
  • 2017–2019: Rubin Kazan
  • 2019–2022: Zenit Saint Petersburg
  • 2022: Bayer Leverkusen
  • 2009–2011: Iran U17
  • 2011–2014: Iran U20
  • 2015: Iran U23
  • 2014: Iran

Sardar Azmoun is a forward who currently plays for Bayer Leverkusen. He was born in Gonbad-e Kavus, Iran in 1995 and started playing football at an early age.

In 2013, he joined Rubin Kazan and made 27 appearances over the following two seasons before moving to Germany's Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in 2016. Sardar has represented Iran at youth level but is yet to feature for his national team senior side.

He is known for his pace, strength and technical ability on the ball and is often compared to former Iranian international Ali Daei due to their similar styles of play. 

Sardar Azmoun is a prolific Iranian international footballer who plays for Russian club Rubin Kazan and German side Bayer Leverkusen.

Sardar made his professional debut with Rubin Kazan in 2017 and has since gone on to make 47 appearances, scoring 9 goals. 

He was part of the Iran squad that won the AFF U-19 Youth Championship in 2012, before going on to represent the country at senior level from 2014 onwards. 

In total, Sardar has 68 caps, 41 of which have come at under-20 level, making him one of Iran's most experienced players ever.

His qualities as an attacking midfielder have seen him labelled as "the new Mesut Özil" by some pundits and he is certainly one player to watch out for during the 2022 World Cup.

Also Played For: fc rubin kazan, fc zenit

17. Ki Sung-yueng

Newcastle United F.C.

Ki Sung-yueng Career

  • 2001–2005: John Paul College
  • 2005: Kumho High School
  • 2006–2009: FC Seoul
  • 2010–2012: Celtic
  • 2012–2018: Swansea City
  • 2013–2014: Sunderland (loan)
  • 2018–2020: Newcastle United
  • 2020: Mallorca
  • 2020: FC Seoul
  • 2004: South Korea U17
  • 2006–2007: South Korea U20
  • 2007–2012: South Korea U23
  • 2008–2019: South Korea

Ki Sung-yueng is a central midfielder who has played for FC Seoul and Swansea City in the English Premier League. Ki was born in South Korea, but moved to Scotland at a young age to play football with Celtic.

He made his debut for FC Seoul in 2006, and went on to make 139 appearances for the club before joining Swansea City in 2018. 

Ki is an important part of both teams he has played for, often playing as a holding midfielder or defensive midfielder Ki Sung-yueng started his career at hometown club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and went on to represent South Korea at youth level.

Ki signed for Newcastle United in 2013 and made an instant impact, helping the team reach the Premier League playoffs in his first season. 

Ki has since gone onto play for Sunderland (loan) and Newcastle United again, as well as Mallorca and FC Seoul in international competition. 

In total, Ki has scored 21 goals in 75 appearances for various clubs around Europe - a remarkable record which speaks volumes about his ability on the pitch.

As one of South Korea's most decorated footballers ever, it is clear that Ki will continue to have an influence not just domestically but also internationally moving forward.

Also Played For: swansea city a.f.c, south korea national football team

18. Ritsu Doan

Japan national football team

Ritsu Doan is an American professional soccer player who currently plays for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer. He began his career with the Seattle Sounders before moving to Los Angeles in 2007.

Doan was a member of the United States men's national team which participated at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2006 FIFA World Cup, as well as at Copa América 2007 and 2011. 

In May 2014, he announced his retirement from international play after being omitted from Jurgen Klinsmann’s final squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil due to injury; he played 84 matches for United States Men’s National Team between 2001 and 2013.

On October 25th 2018 Ritsu stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where he played a game of "Operation" against Fallon's band The Roots. Ritsu Doan is a businesswoman and philanthropist who has been involved in several charitable organizations. 

She has also received numerous awards, including the prestigious New York Women in Business Award and the Japanese Woman of Achievement Award. In 2006, Ritsu Doan was named an Honorary Fellow at LSE, one of the world's leading universities.

She currently resides in London with her husband and two children.

19. Cha Bum-kun

South Korea national football team

Cha Bum-kun Career

  • 1967–1968: Kyungshin Middle School
  • 1969–1971: Kyungshin High School
  • 1972–1975: Korea University
  • 1976: Korea Trust Bank
  • 1976–1979: ROK Air Force (draft)
  • 1978–1979: Darmstadt 98
  • 1979–1983: Eintracht Frankfurt
  • 1983–1989: Bayer Leverkusen
  • 1970–1972: South Korea U20
  • 1972–1986: South Korea
  • 1991–1994: Hyundai Horang-i
  • 1997–1998: South Korea
  • 1998–1999: Shenzhen Ping'an
  • 2004–2010: Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Cha Bum-kun is a Korean forward who played for clubs in Germany, Korea and ROK Air Force. Cha started his football career at Kyungshin Middle School before moving to Kyungshin High School where he would go on to win the 1972 National Championship with Korea University.

After three years of playing in Germany, Cha joined ROK Air Force where he was part of the team that reached the 1978 World Cup finals. 

In 1979 Cha moved back to Europe and signed for Frankfurt, helping them reach the 1983 UEFA Cup final but losing out on their first ever trophy by a single goal against Valencia CF.

After leaving Frankfurt, Cha returned home to play for Darmstadt 98 before retiring from football altogether in 1984 at the age of 27 due to an injury sustained during a match against Hertha Berlin.

Now aged 69 and living in South Korea, Cha still keeps himself busy by being active as a coach at various academies around Asia including FC Anyang (South Korea).

He has also made occasional appearances for his country since hanging up his boots and helped guide South Korea through their successful qualification campaign forRussia 2018 which they eventually lost 2-1 on aggregate after extra time against Belgium.

Despite not having won any major honours while playing professionally, Cha remains one of most decorated players in K League history having scored 46 goals across 122 appearances between 1976–1983 inclusive.

20. Takehiro Tomiyasu

Arsenal F.C.

Takehiro Tomiyasu Career

  • 2009–2014: Avispa Fukuoka
  • 2015–2017: Avispa Fukuoka
  • 2018–2019: Sint-Truiden
  • 2019–2021: Bologna
  • 2021: Arsenal
  • 2014–2015: Japan U16
  • 2015–2017: Japan U20
  • 2017–2021: Japan U23
  • 2018: Japan

Tomiyasu made his professional debut for Avispa Fukuoka in the J-League in 2015. He moved to Belgian club Sint-Truiden ahead of the 2018–19 season, and played 27 matches for them during that campaign.

Tomiyasu was called up to Japan's squad for their 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign, playing one match as a centre back before being substituted off in the 62nd minute against South Korea. 

Tomiyasu is contracted to Arsenal until 2021 and has been touted as a possible replacement for Laurent Koscielny at the Emirates Stadium.

Tomiyasu is a versatile defender who has played for Japan at both U20 and U23 levels. He was part of the Japanese side that reached the AFC Asian Cup final in 2019, but were narrowly beaten by Australia. 

Tomiyasu is already a veteran of senior international football, having made his debut for Japan in 2014 aged just 19 years old.

Also Played For: japan football team, arsenal f.c

21. Mehdi Taremi

FC Porto

Mehdi Taremi Career

  • 2002–2006: Bargh Bushehr
  • 2006–2010: Iranjavan
  • 2010–2012: Shahin Bushehr
  • 2012–2014: Iranjavan
  • 2014–2018: Persepolis
  • 2018–2019: Al-Gharafa
  • 2019–2020: Rio Ave
  • 2020: Porto
  • 2011–2012: Iran U20
  • 2013: Iran U23
  • 2015: Iran
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 8 January 2023, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 29 November 2022

Mehdi Taremi is a Iranian international striker who currently plays for Portuguese club Porto. He began his career with Bargh Bushehr before moving to Portugal and joining FC Porto in 2009.

Taremi has represented Iran at various youth levels, including the U-17, U-20, and senior national teams. He made his debut for the Iranians in 2011 and has since played a significant role in their midfield rotation.

Taremi scored his first goal for Iran against Syria during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup tournament where he helped Iran reach the semi-finals stage of the competition. In January 2020, it was reported that Manchester City were interested in signing him on loan from Porto.

In May 2020, he signed a new contract with Porto which will keep him at the club until 2024. Mehdi Taremi is an Iranian professional footballer who plays for the Portuguese club Rio Ave.

He has played for Iran at senior level, and was part of their squad that won the 2017 AFC Asian Cup. Mehdi Taremi also represented his country at the international level in 2011, 2013 and 2015. 

In 2016, he joined Persepolis on a permanent deal from Shahin Bushehr following the latter's relegation to Iranjavan First Division League football. 

The midfielder made his Portugal debut in November 2018 against Andorra in a 0-0 draw; he went on to make 30 appearances throughout the season as Persepolis finished as runners-up in Ligue 1 behind Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Mehdi Taremi has been capped 63 times by Iran and scored 30 goals across all levels of domestic competition."

22. Takumi Minamino

Japan national football team

Takumi Minamino Career

  • 2007–2012: Cerezo Osaka
  • 2012–2014: Cerezo Osaka
  • 2015–2020: Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2020–2022: Liverpool
  • 2021: Southampton (loan)
  • 2022: Monaco
  • 2010–2011: Japan U17
  • 2012: Japan U20
  • 2015–2016: Japan U23
  • 2015: Japan

Takumi Minamino is a Japanese attacking midfielder who currently plays for Monaco. He started his career with Cerezo Osaka before joining Red Bull Salzburg in 2015.

In 2018, Takumi helped Monaco to win the Ligue 1 title and qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stages. Takumi has also played for Liverpool and represented Japan at youth level.

Takumi Minamino is a Japanese player who has represented his country at both the senior and youth levels. Takumi Minamino made his international debut for Japan in 2015, and went on to score 47 goals between 2015-2018.

In 2018, Takumi Minamino joined Monaco on loan from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight. At Monaco, Takumi Minamino will hope to continue his good form with Japan by helping them qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals. 

Born in Osaka, Takumi Minamino began playing football as a youngster in local leagues before moving onto J1 League sides Cerezo Osaka and Urawa Reds FC where he developed into an accomplished striker.

Also Played For: fc red bull salzburg, as monaco

23. Choe Myong-ho

Choe Myong-ho Career

  • 2003–2004: Kyonggongopsong
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2005–2006: Kyonggongopsong: 20: (3)
  • 2006–2008: Krylia Sovetov Samara: 1: (0)
  • 2009–2016: Pyongyang: 27: (12)
  • 2016–2017: National Defense Ministry: 40: (44)
  • 2018–: Visakha: 12: (9)
  • 2004–2006: North Korea U-17: 10: (5)
  • 2008–2012: North Korea[1]: 12: (2)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of[citation needed]

Choe Myong-ho was born in Pyongyang, North Korea on 3 July 1988. Choe has played for Kyonggongopsong and was a prolific striker during his youth career.

Choe made his international debut for North Korea in 2009 against South Korea and has since gone on to make over 50 appearances for the side. 

In January 2018, it was announced that Choe had transferred to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao after being released by K League side Ulsan Hyundai FC following the 2017 season.

Where he scored eight goals in 26 games including five braces in as many matches helping lead Ulsan Hyundai FC to their first ever J1 League title win After joining Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, Choe set about scoring goals at an alarming rate.

Netting thirteen times from twenty-four appearances across all competitions which saw him named Asian Player of the Year at the end of the season On 6 May 2019.

It was announced that Choe had signed with Turkish club Trabzonspor until 2020 with an option for another year Chloe Myung Ho (born July 3, 1988) is a North Korean professional footballer who currently plays as a striker or winger for Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao and Turkish Süper Lig club Trabzonspor.

24. Ryoichi Maeda

Júbilo Iwata

Ryoichi Maeda Career

  • 1997–1999: Gyosei High School
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2000–2014: Júbilo Iwata: 363: (154)
  • 2015–2018: FC Tokyo: 103: (17)
  • 2017–2018: FC Tokyo U-23: 10: (3)
  • 2019–2020: FC Gifu: 59: (6)
  • Total: : 525: (177)
  • 2000–2001: Japan U-20: 12: (5)
  • 2003–2004: Japan U-23: 5: (0)
  • 2007–2013: Japan: 33: (10)

Born in Kobe, Maeda started his youth career playing for Gyosei High School. After two seasons at Júbilo Iwata, he joined FC Tokyo in 2010 and went on to score 177 goals over 525 appearances for the club.

In 2015, Maeda signed with FC Gifu and helped them win promotion to Japan's top division that year before returning to Tokyo the following year. He has since played 59 times for Gifu in all competitions, scoring six goals.

The 41-year-old is also a member of the Japanese national team and has made 11 appearances over the course of his international career so far Maeda was a talented midfielder who played for Japan's U-23 team before moving up to the senior side.

He is known for his creative play and ability to create chances for teammates. In 2003, Maeda helped Júbilo Iwata win the J1 League title, while he also featured in their runner-up finish the following year. 

He then enjoyed further success with runners-up finishes in both the J1 League Cup (in 2010) and Emperor's Cup (in 2004).

Maeda represented Japan at two AFC Asian Cups - including being part of their victorious 2011 squad in Qatar - as well as playing at several other international tournaments during his time with club and country.

After leaving Japanese football, Maeda signed with Thai outfit Buriram United FC where he remains currently playing professionally.

The versatile midfielder has also had spells abroad playing for Scottish Premiership side Hibernian FC, Swedish Allsvenskan side Örebro SK, Spanish Segunda División outfit Racing Santander B and Iranian Premier Football League outfit Mes Kerman Farsi

At 32 years old Ryoichi Maeda still has plenty of football left in him and looks set to continue representing his country internationally on numerous occasions over the coming years.

A hard working midfield player renowned for his creativity and passing ability, Ryoichi Maeda will be remembered fondly by fans of Japanese football throughout the years.

25. Waleed Hamzah


  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1999–2011: Al-Arabi: 177: (38)
  • 2011–2012: Al Wakrah: 17: (1)
  • 2012–2013: Al Gharafa: :
  • 2013–2014: Al Ahli: :
  • 2014–2015: Al Wakrah: :
  • 2000–2007: Qatar: 37: (9)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Waleed Hamzah is a Qatari professional footballer who primarily plays as a striker. He has played for several top-flight clubs in his native country, most notably Al Sadd and Qatar SC.

In January 2019, he joined Thai club Buriram United on a one-year contract. He was part of the Qatar national team that made it to the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and finished fourth at the 2014 Asian Games.

Hamzah is married with two children Waleed Hamzah was born on the 5th of October, 1989 in Qatar. He played for Al-Arabi from 1999 to 2011 and helped the club win two league titles and one cup during that time. In 2012, he moved to Al Wakrah but only stayed there for a year before returning to Arabi in 2013.

Waleed has also represented Qatar at international level playing 37 times between 2000 and 2007; his most notable achievement being winning the AFC Champions League with Qatari side Qatari SC in 2006. 

He signed for Saudi giants Al Gharafa in 2014 where he spent two years before joining Ahli Abu Dhabi last season (2015/16).

Hamzah is an attacking midfielder who is known for his speed, dribbling skills and passing ability; he is also capable of scoring goals from distance or set pieces due to his strength and power in front of goal.

26. Ma Xiaoxu

China women's national football team


  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2003–2006: Dalian Shide: :
  • 2007: Umeå IK: :
  • 2007–2018: Dalian Quanjian: :
  • 2019–2020: Beijing BG Phoenix: : (5)
  • 2005–2006: China U-20: 8: (5)
  • 2005–: China: 152: (61)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 12 August 2016, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 12 August 2016

Ma Xiaoxu is a Chinese international striker who has played for several top clubs in China and Europe. Ma was born on 5 June 1988 in Dalian, Liaoning, China.

At the age of 16, she joined Beijing Guoan Women's Football Club and made her debut for the club in 2006. 

She went on to win two league titles with Beijing Guoan before moving to Chelsea Ladies Fc in England in July 2014 where she won the FA WSL Cup and League Championship consecutively as well as being named Player of The Year both seasons.

In January 2019, it was announced that Ma had signed with Australian side Melbourne Victory FC until the end of 2020 season after helping them reach their first ever A-League Finals appearance which they ultimately lost 2-1 against Perth Glory FC. 

With 36 goals over 128 appearances (all competitions), Ma is one of Chelsea's most successful players having lifted numerous domestic trophies throughout her time at Stamford Bridge including an FA WSL 1 title and a UEFA Champions League campaign during their 2016/17 season under manager Antonio Conte who also appointed her captain for that year.

27. Kim Kum-il

April 25 SC


  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2006–: April 25: :
  • 2007–: North Korea: 12: (1)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of June 2, 2010

Kim Kum-il is a North Korean striker who has played for several clubs in his country. He made his international debut for the North Korea national team in 2009.

Kim participated at the 2012 Olympic Games and helped his country win a silver medal. In 2014, he joined J1 League side Kashima Antlers on loan from Pyongyang Sinmun Club and scored seven goals in twenty appearances before returning to Pyongyang Sinmun Club at the end of the season.

Kim was part of the North Korea squad that won back-to-back Asian Cup titles in 2017 and 2018, becoming only the second player after Seo Taiji to achieve this feat.

He is currently contracted with FC Seoul[3] Kim Kum-il is a senior player with 10 caps and one goal for the North Korea national team.

Kim has been playing club football in South Korea since 2006, appearing in over 100 league games and scoring 25 goals. 

He made his international debut in 2007 against Japan, but due to political tensions between the two nations he wasn't able to play again until 2010 when he appeared against Syria. 

At 27 years old, Kim is considered an experienced player on both domestic and international levels which could be beneficial as North Korea take on Algeria in their first World Cup qualifying game this Wednesday night (AEDT).

Keep an eye out for him this week - it's sure to be an exciting match.

28. Du Wei

China national football team


  • 1995–2001: Shanghai 02
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2002–2010: Shanghai Shenhua: 159: (12)
  • 2005–2006: → Celtic (loan): 0: (0)
  • 2010–2012: Hangzhou Greentown: 66: (9)
  • 2012–2014: Shandong Luneng: 46: (6)
  • 2015–2017: Hebei China Fortune: 48: (3)
  • 2017: → Guizhou Zhicheng (loan): 12: (1)
  • 2018: Guizhou Hengfeng: 8: (2)
  • 2000–2001: China U-20: :
  • 2002–2003: China U-23: :
  • 2001–2016: China: 71: (4)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 11 November 2018, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 25 May 2014

Du Wei is a centre-back who has played for Shanghai 02 and Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League. Du Wei was born on 9 February 1982 in Luoyang, Henan Province, China.

Du Wei started his youth career with Shanghai 02 before moving to Henan Jianye in 2001. He made his senior debut for the latter club that same year and has since gone on to play for several other teams in the Chinese Super League.

Du Wei is currently contracted to Tianjin Quanjian and he will be representing them at this summer's World Cup qualifiers campaign as they attempt to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia. 

In terms of international appearances, Du Wei has represented China at various levels including under-23s (2001–2002), under-21s (2003) and full national team duty (2004).

Du Wei is a highly-rated midfielder who has played for several top Chinese clubs. Du Wei made his international debut in 2016 and has since been a regular member of the China national team. 

Du Wei is known for his strong passing ability and quick feet, which make him an ideal player to control the midfield. Duwei's most recent club was Guizhou Hengfeng, where he helped them win promotion to the Chinese Super League after finishing third in the league table.

29. Hwang Hee-chan

Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.

Hwang Hee-chan is a South Korean professional footballer who plays as a forward for Saudi club Al Khaleej and the South Korea national team. 

Hwang Hee-Chan started his career with J1 League side Urawa Red Diamonds in 2014, where he made 38 appearances before moving to Saudi club Al Khaleej the following year.

In 2018, Hwang was part of the South Korea squad that won the AFF Suzuki Cup, Japan's top football cup competition. 

At international level, Hwang has represented South Korea at every age group from under 20s up to senior team levels, earning over 50 caps since making his debut in 2016 He is a South Korean professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur and the South Korea national team.

He was born in Daegu on October 2, 1992. At 19 years old, he made his debut for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in 2010 and quickly established himself as one of the best young talents in Asia by scoring 23 goals in 54 appearances over two seasons with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors before moving to Spurs ahead of the 2013 season for £6 million. 

He has won three Premier League titles (2014-15, 2017-18) and one FA Cup (2017), making him arguably Tottenham's most successful ever player.

In November 2018, he became the fastest player to score 100 league goals for Tottenham Hotspur after netting against Newcastle United within just 126 minutes - also becoming only the third Asian player to achieve this feat after Japanese great Shinzo Nakai and Iranian legend Ali Daei. 

As part of his international career, Hwang has represented South Korea at various youth levels including under-20s World Cup runner up squad in 2015 and Olympic gold medalists at 2016 Olympics.

With 94 caps and 38 goals to his name,[2] Hwang is currently joint sixth all time with Park Ji Yeon on both counts behind Pele (111), Diego Maradona (101), Johan Cruyff (96), Gerd Müller(94) & Pelé(89).

30. Adnan Hamad


  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1978–1982: Samaraa: :
  • 1982–1983: Salahaddin: :
  • 1983–1988: Al-Zawraa: :
  • 1988–1989: Al-Talaba: :
  • 1989–1990: Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya: :
  • 1990–1992: Al-Zawraa: :
  • 1992–1994: Samaraa: :
  • 1982–1986: Iraq: 17: (6)
  • 1994–1996: Al-Zawraa (youth)
  • 1996–1998: Al-Zawraa
  • 1997–1998: Iraq U20
  • 1998–1999: Dubai
  • 1999–2001: Al-Zawraa
  • 2000: Iraq
  • 2000–2001: Iraq U20
  • 2001: Iraq
  • 2001–2002: Al-Zawraa
  • 2002: Iraq
  • 2003–2004: Iraq U23
  • 2003–2004: Al-Zawraa
  • 2004: Lebanon
  • 2004: Iraq
  • 2005–2006: Al-Ansar
  • 2006–2008: Al-Faisaly
  • 2008: Iraq
  • 2009–2013: Jordan
  • 2014: Bani Yas
  • 2014: Bahrain
  • 2016–2017: Al-Wehdat
  • 2021–: Jordan
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Adnan Hamad is a Jordanian striker who played for several clubs in his career. He made his international debut in 1982 and was a member of the Iraq national team until 1986.

After retiring from playing, he managed several clubs before being appointed manager of Jordan in 2016. Hamad has been described as an "outstanding" player with good technical skills and strong shooting ability Adnan Hamad is a Jordanian footballer who plays for Bahrain.

He has played for both Al-Zawraa and Iraq, before joining Bahrain in 2014. Hamad has represented Jordan at international level on several occasions, most notably at the 2009 Pan Arab Games where he helped his nation win bronze medals. 

In 2013, he moved to Bani Yas after spending three seasons with Al-Faisaly in Baghdad, Iraq's capital city.

Adnan Hamad started his career with al-Ansar SC of Amman back in 2006 before transferring to Lebanese side Al-Faisaly two years later where he spent four successful seasons before moving to Bahrain in 2014.

31. Aya Miyama

Aya Miyama Career

  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1999–2000: Nippon TV Beleza: 6: (2)
  • 2001–2008: Okayama Yunogo Belle: 110: (62)
  • 2009: Los Angeles Sol: 20: (0)
  • 2009: Okayama Yunogo Belle: 6: (1)
  • 2010: Saint Louis Athletica: 5: (0)
  • 2010: Atlanta Beat: 17: (1)
  • 2010–2016: Okayama Yunogo Belle: 122: (48)
  • Total: : 286: (114)
  • 2003–2016: Japan: 162: (38)

Aya Miyama is a Japanese midfielder who has played for both Nippon TV Beleza and Okayama Yunogo Belle. She made her international debut for Japan in 2009 and went on to represent the country at three World Cups (2011, 2015, 2019).

Aya was named J-League Female Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011 while with Okayama Belle. In 2016 she signed with Atlanta Beat in the United States but left after one season without playing any senior club football outside of Japan again.

After retiring from playing professionally, Aya became a coach with her former team Okayama Yunogo Belle before taking up an assistant coaching role at Saint Louis Athletica in early 2019 Aya Miyama is a Japanese football player who currently plays for Okayama Yunogo Belle.

Aya Miyama has represented Japan at the Olympic Games twice, as well as the FIFA Women's World Cup and AFC Women's Asian Cup. In 1999, she won the Nadeshiko League with club side Okayama Yunogo Belle and in 2013 she lifted the prestigious Empress's Cup with her new team Tokyo Verdy Ladies.

Aya Miyama debuted for Japan in 2003 and went on to play 162 times over nine years representing her country at various tournaments including internationals such as the Olympic Games and World Cups.

32. Shinji Kagawa

Sint-Truidense V.V.

Shinji Kagawa Career

  • 1994–1999: Marino FC
  • 1999–2001: Kobe NK Football Club
  • 2001–2005: FC Miyagi Barcelona
  • 2006–2010: Cerezo Osaka
  • 2010–2012: Borussia Dortmund
  • 2012–2014: Manchester United
  • 2014–2019: Borussia Dortmund
  • 2018: Borussia Dortmund II
  • 2019: Beşiktaş (loan)
  • 2019–2020: Real Zaragoza
  • 2021: PAOK
  • 2022: Sint-Truiden
  • 2006–2008: Japan U19
  • 2007: Japan U20
  • 2008: Japan U23
  • 2008–2019: Japan

Shinji Kagawa is a Japanese midfielder who currently plays for Belgian club Sint-Truiden. He spent his early career playing in Japan with Kobe NK Football Club and then at Spanish side FC Barcelona before moving to Germany to play for Borussia Dortmund.

Kagawa made an impact as a youngster, scoring 25 goals in 83 appearances while playing for Marino FC and then 54 goals in 131 appearances while at Kobe NK Football Club. 

After spending two seasons with Borussia Dortmund, he moved back to Spain, this time joining La Liga side Cerezo Osaka where he won the 2016 J1 League title and was named MVP of the season.

In 2017, Kagawa joined Premier League side Manchester United on a one-year contract but failed to make any significant impact during his time there; he was loaned out again the following year before returning to Cerezo Osaka permanently later that year. 

At the international level, Kagawa has represented Japan at under-20 (2007), under-23 (2008) and senior national team levels (2009–present).

He played in all three of their games at UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying which saw them finish third behind Denmark and Sweden respectively whilst also being eliminated from contention for the 2014 World Cup by Saudi Arabia via a penalty shootout.

After losing 2–1 on aggregate in their final encounter; however, they went on to win the 2015 AFC Asian Cup tournament without him present owing largely due to injury problems sustained earlier in the domestic season by regular starter Makoto Hasebe.

In May 2018 it was announced that Shinji had signed a new deal with Sint Truiden until 2021.[6] Shinji finished runner-up behind Luka Modric receiving votes from fans across social media websites.

FIFA 19 Ultimate Team™ players include 89 overall rating, 93 shooting accuracy, 88 passing accuracy, 84 dribbling skill, 82 ball control skills as well as 94 physical strength rating making him one of FUT 19 best midfielders available.

33. Wang Shuang

Wang Shuang Career

  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2012–2013: Wuhan Jianghan University: 10: (15)
  • 2013–2014: Daejeon Sportstoto: 14: (7)
  • 2015: Wuhan Jianghan University: 5: (3)
  • 2016–2017: Dalian Quanjian: 19: (9)
  • 2018: Wuhan Jianghan University: 8: (7)
  • 2018–2019: Paris Saint-Germain: 18: (7)
  • 2019–2022: Wuhan Jianghan University: 30: (9)
  • 2022–: Racing Louisville: 4: (0)
  • 2012–2014: China U-20: 9: (5)
  • 2013–: China: 121: (43)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 10 August 2022, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 26 July 2022

Wang Shuang is a Chinese forward who currently plays for Racing Louisville in the United States. Wang was born on January 23, 1995 in Wuhan, Hubei Province and started playing football at an early age.

After impressing with his performances for various lower-division teams, Wang made the move to Europe and joined Dutch side Roda JC Kerkrade in 2016. 

He played 18 games for Roda JC Kerkrade before joining American club Louisville ahead of their inaugural season in 2017 as part of an exchange deal that saw Derby County defender Greg Cunningham move to China.

While he has yet to score any goals or make any assists during his time with Racing Louisville, Wang has been praised by fans and pundits alike for his all-round play both offensively and defensively which makes him a very valuable member of the team.

34. Ma Yuanan


  • Years: Team: :
  • 1992–2001: China Women

Ma Yuanan is a retired Chinese politician who served as the Vice Premier of China from 2002 to 2007. Ma was born in 1945 and has held various positions within the Communist Party of China, including governor of Fujian province and party chief of Zhejiang province.

Ma was named vice premier in 2002 after serving as Secretary General of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which oversees political corruption cases. In 2007, Ma announced his retirement from politics at age 72 after serving two terms as vice premier.

Since retiring from public life, Ma has worked as an advisor to several state-owned enterprises and served on various academic committees throughout China Ma Yuanan was the managing director of China Women's soccer team from 1992 to 2001. 

She helped lead the Chinese women's soccer team to numerous international championships and cups, including two Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004.

Ma retired after helping guide China Women's Soccer Team to its first ever AFC Champions League semifinal appearance in 2006 season.

35. Ri Kum-suk

April 25 SC

Ri Kum-suk Career

  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • ?–present: 4.25 Sports Club: 178: (125)
  • 1998–2008: DPR Korea: 65: (40)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 19:37, 3 November 2007 (UTC), ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of November 3, 2007

Ri Kum-suk was born in Hamhung, North Korea on August 16th 1978. Ri played for FC Seoul and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors before he joined the Vancouver Whitecaps in February of 2014.

Ri scored his first goal with the Whitecaps in a 4-1 victory over Toronto FC on March 25th, 2014. In 2017, Ri signed a new 2 year contract with the Caps that would keep him through 2018 season.

Ri is known as an attack minded forward who can create chances for teammates from anywhere on the field (including behind the defense.). Outside of football, Ri has worked as a model and actor during his time away from home playing professionally around Asia.

Ri Kum-suk is a South Korean footballer who currently plays for 4.25 Sports Club in the K League. Ri Kum-suk has been with 4.25 since 1998 and has made 178 appearances, scoring 125 goals during his time there. He has also represented DPR Korea at international level on 65 occasions, scoring 40 goals in total.

Ri Kum-suk is one of the most experienced players in the K League and is known for his consistency and goalkeeping ability both domestically and internationally. 

Ri Kum-suk was part of Korea's 2002 World Cup squad as well as their 2006 Asian Games campaign where they reached the semi finals stage before being defeated by China 2–1 on aggregate after two matches each side (including a 1–0 home win).

His final cap for DPR Korea came in 2008 against Oman which ended in a 0–0 draw; he now primarily plays club football outside of Asia due to restrictions placed upon him by FIFA following allegations that he had paid bribes whilst playing for Chunnam Dragons between 2006 and 2007.

Ri Kum-suk retired from international football at the end of 2008 but continues to play club football with 4th place finishers Suwon Samsung Bluewings until May 2010 when he signed up once again with fourth tier side Daegu FC pending resolution to an appeal lodged against him over unpaid wages from 2009.

In December 2011 it was announced that he would be joining newly promoted Sogang University FK next season , having agreed terms earlier that month. 

In July 2013, it was reported that Ri had rejoined Fourth Division side Gangneung City FC after leaving university midway through 2013 season but left them again short few weeks later ahead of their appearance in JSAFA National Championship Group Stage match against Gyeongnam FC.

This time opting not to renew his contract despite still being registered with gangneung city fc according to recent reports.

36. Cha Kyung-bok

Cha Kyung-bok Career

  • : Joongdong High School
  • : Kyunghee University
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • : Industrial Bank of Korea FC: :
  • 1959: South Korea U-20: :
  • 1964: South Korea: :
  • 1967–1968: Kyunghee University (Coach)
  • 1969–1972: Industrial Bank of Korea FC (Coach)
  • 1973–1983: Industrial Bank of Korea FC
  • 1984: University of Incheon
  • 1985–1993: Kyunghee University
  • 1995–1997: Jeonbuk Dinos
  • 1998–1999: Cheonan Ilhwa
  • 2000–2004: Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma

Cha Kyung-bok was an extremely talented and versatile player, who played for both the South Korea national team and various industrial clubs across Asia.

Cha Kyung-bok made his international debut in 1959 at just 18 years old and went on to play over 100 matches for South Korea, scoring 24 goals. After retiring from playing professionally, Cha became a highly respected coach and manager in his home country of South Korea.

He helped guide the national team to victory at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ as well as several other top tournaments throughout his career. Cha Kyung-bok passed away on October 31st 2006 after a long battle with illness, aged 69 years old. 

His death will be remembered by fans all over the world as one of the greatest players in Korean football history Cha Kyung-bok is a legendary coach with over 30 years of experience in the field.

He was most recently head coach of Jeonbuk Dinos, but he has also coached Kyunghee University and Industrial Bank of Korea FC. 

Cha Kyung-bok's coaching record speaks for itself - his teams have consistently been among the top performers in their respective leagues, both domestically and internationally. His work at Jeonbuk Dinos yielded two consecutive Korean Cup victories, as well as qualification for the AFC Champions League twice (2007 and 2009).

ChaKyng Bok is an incredibly engaging speaker who loves to share stories from his own career experiences while motivating others to achieve their goals. He is respected by all who know him, whether they are players or coaches themselves. 

A man of many talents outside of football too - Cha Kyung-Bok has authored several books on sport psychology which can be found in any bookstore across South Korea. 

An inspiration not only to those within the game but also to anyone looking to overcome any obstacle life throws at them - Cha Kyong Bok embodies everything that it means to be a successful individual.

37. Bai Jie


  • : Hebei Youth and Teenagers Sports School
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • : Guangzhou Army: :
  • 2001–2002: Washington Freedom: :
  • 1997–2003: China: 139:
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Bai Jie was born on March 28, 1972 in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, China. 2. Bai Jie is a former Chinese basketball player who played for the Shanghai Sharks and the Beijing Ducks during his playing career.

After retiring from professional play, Bai has worked as an assistant coach with teams in China and abroad including recently being an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA.

In 2007 Bai was named head coach of the newly formed Jiangsu Dragons team in the CBA but he resigned after just one season due to differences with club management.

Currently Bai works as a sports commentator for various channels in China Bai Jie started playing football at an early age, and quickly developed into one of the most promising young players in China. 

Bai Jie made her international debut for China in 1997, and has since gone on to make 139 appearances for her country. She is a consistent performer for Guangzhou Army, and is often relied upon as a key player in their team.

Bai Jie has been widely recognised as one of the best female footballers in the world, and she has won several awards throughout her career including the 2003 ASEAN Footballer of The Year Award. She is currently contracted to Guangzhou Army until 2012.

38. Nasser Al-Johar

Nasser Al-Johar Career

  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • : Al-Nassr FC: :
  • 1990–1991: Al-Nassr FC
  • 1993: Al-Nassr FC
  • 2000: Saudi Arabia
  • 2001–2002: Saudi Arabia
  • 2004: Saudi Arabia
  • 2008–2009: Saudi Arabia
  • 2011: Saudi Arabia

Nasser Al-Johar is a former Saudi Arabian footballer who played as a midfielder. He won the Asian Cup with Al-Nassr FC in 1990. After retiring from playing, he became manager of Al-Nassr FC and led them to three league titles during his tenure.

In 2000, he was appointed head coach of the Saudi Arabia national team but failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. He resigned after four months in charge and was replaced by Alfonso Arellano Flores. Since leaving coaching, Nasser has been involved in business ventures including owning a chain of restaurants called 'Al Jannah'.

In October 2013, it was announced that he would be taking over as president of Qatar Football Association following the resignation of Hassan Sheikh Mohammed. He holds dual citizenship with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

39. Yousuf al-Serkal

Al-Serkal is a football official from the United Arab Emirates who has officiated in regional and international competitions. Al-Serkal began his career as an assistant referee before progressing to become a full FIFA referee in 2007.

He refereed several matches during the 2014 World Cup including the final between Argentina and Germany which saw Diego Maradona awarded a red card for his role in provoking José Pekerman's team into taking penalties, ultimately costing them the title.

In November 2017, al-Serkal was accused of match fixing by Bahraini authorities after they alleged that he helped facilitate two games during their Gulf Club Championship campaign earlier that year. However, al-Serkal successfully appealed against this charge and continues to work as an official at international level.

40. Natsuko Hara

Natsuko Hara Career

  • 2001–2006: Nippon TV Beleza
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2006–2015: Nippon TV Beleza: 149: (5)
  • Total: : 149: (5)
  • 2008: Japan U-20: 3: (0)
  • 2010: Japan: 2: (0)

Natsuko Hara is a midfielder who has played for Nippon TV Beleza since 2006. She made her senior international debut in 2008 and has since played at the 2010 World Cup, 2014 Asian Games and 2015 Women's Asia Cup.

Hara was part of Japan's U-20 team that won the gold medal at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship. In January 2016, she transferred to JEF United Chiba after eight seasons with NTV Beleza. 

With JEF United, Hara helped lead them to their first ever championship title in 2018 before retiring from professional football later that year aged just 33 years old Natsuko Hara is a Japanese football player who plays for Nippon TV Beleza.

She has previously played in the Japan Women's National Team and won the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Nadeshiko League championships with her team. 

In July 2015 she was part of the Japanese national team that competed at UEFA Women's Euro 2017 where they were runners-up to Sweden after losing 2-1 in the final.

41. Rauf Inileev


  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1973–1975: Pakhtakor Tashkent: :
  • : Mekhnat Jizzakh: :
  • : Start Tashkent: :
  • : Zvezda Jizzakh: :
  • : Zvezda Jizzakh
  • 1993–1996: Chilanzar Tashkent
  • 1997–2000: Sogdiana Jizzakh
  • : Shurtan Guzar
  • : Andijan
  • 2006–2007: Uzbekistan U-23
  • 2007–2008: Uzbekistan
  • 2009–2010: Bukhoro
  • 2010–2011: Sogdiana Jizzakh
  • 2014: Maktaaral
  • 2016–2017: Obod
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Rauf Inileev is a former Uzbekistani footballer who played for Pakhtakor Tashkent and Zvezda Jizzakh in the Soviet Top League. He also managed both clubs during his career.

Inileev began his playing career with Mekhnat Jizzakh, before moving to Start Tashkent in 1973. He spent five seasons at the club, helping them win twoSoviet Top League titles and reach the 1974–75 European Cup Winners' Cup final.

After leaving Start, Inileev joined Zvezda Jizzakh in 1978 and helped them to finish as runners-up in the Soviet Premier League twice (1980 and 1981). 

He later served as manager of both clubs between 1984 and 1988. Rauf Inileef retired from football following Zvezda's relegation from the Soviet First Division in 1988, but continued to manage amateur sides until 2001.

The 72-year-old has since worked as a commentator for various Uzbek TV channels, most recently covering Euro 2016 for beIN Sports Arabia.

42. Kim Min-jae

S.S.C. Napoli

Kim Min-jae Career

  • 2012–2015: Suwon Technical High School
  • 2015–2016: Yonsei University
  • 2016: Gyeongju KHNP
  • 2017–2018: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
  • 2019–2021: Beijing Guoan
  • 2021–2022: Fenerbahçe
  • 2022: Napoli
  • 2014: South Korea U20
  • 2016–2018: South Korea U23
  • 2017: South Korea

Kim Min-Jae is a center-back who currently plays for Napoli in Serie A. Kim started his career at Yeoncho Middle School before moving on to play for Suwon Technical High School and then Yonsei University.

In 2017, Kim joined Napoli and has since made over 100 appearances for the club, including helping them win the Coppa Italia that same year. 

Kim has been capped by South Korea at various youth levels and was part of their squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia where they reached the semi-finals before losing to France.

Outside of football, Kim enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as trying out new hobbies such as karaoke. Kim Min-Jae is a talented footballer who has represented his country at many tournaments. 

Kim Min-Jae enjoyed a successful international career with South Korea, helping the team to win several titles.

Kim Min-Jae is currently playing for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the K League 1 and looks set to continue his good form this season. 

Expect Kim Min-jae to be one of the stars of the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia later this year. Keep an eye out for Kim Min-jae as he continues to play football at the highest level possible.

43. Eldor Shomurodov

A.S. Roma

Eldor Shomurodov Career

  • 2011–2013: Mash'al Mubarek
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2014–2015: Mash'al Mubarek: 9: (0)
  • 2015–2017: Bunyodkor: 66: (18)
  • 2017–2020: Rostov: 80: (16)
  • 2020–2021: Genoa: 31: (8)
  • 2021–: Roma: 34: (3)
  • 2014: Uzbekistan U19: 5: (1)
  • 2015: Uzbekistan U20: 5: (2)
  • 2015–: Uzbekistan: 61: (33)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 9 November 2022, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 20 November 2022

Eldor Shomurodov is a striker for Roma. He was born in Uzbekistan but has played for Russia at youth level. Eldor Shomurodov made his professional debut with Rostov in the 2017-18 season and scored four goals in 36 appearances.

On 29 June 1995, Eldor Shomurodov was born in Jarqoʻrgʻon, Uzbekistan. Eldor Shomurodov started playing football at an early age and joined local club FC Krasnodar before moving to Rostov academy aged 16.

Where he progressed through the ranks as a striker and turned professional in 2017-18 season after spending time on loan at Terek Grozny and Krylia Sovetgrad previously.

Eldor Shomurodofv attended UEFA Youth League group stage matches between Real Madrid U19s & Dinamo Zagreb U19s which took place on 25 September 2016.

As part of the Russian side that lost 3-0 (Dinamo midfielder Matej Mitrovic scoring twice), he featured 73 minutes as a substitute replacing Denis Cheryshev, setting up one opportunity from outside the area but failing to convert it; coming closest late into stoppage time when his header struck the crossbar.

Shomarodova netted 4 times during 37 appearances throughout all competitions this campaign helping guide Rostov back into European competition finishing 5th overall within their Europa League qualifying group behind Lokeren.

While also making amends starting 11 consecutive league games across domestic leagues culminating ultimately winning silverware by lifting both Russian Premier League. 

Thus earning promotion alongside teammate Fedotenko who left St Petersburg just last week following conclusion of 2018/2019 Season - being awarded Best Player award by Head Coach Igor Akinfeyev.

44. Wataru Endo

Japan national football team

Wataru Endo Career

  • 2008–2010: Shonan Bellmare
  • 2010–2015: Shonan Bellmare
  • 2016–2018: Urawa Red Diamonds
  • 2018–2020: Sint-Truiden
  • 2019–2020: VfB Stuttgart (loan)
  • 2020: VfB Stuttgart
  • 2012: Japan U19
  • 2015–2016: Japan U23
  • 2021: Japan Olympic (O.P.)
  • 2015: Japan

Wataru Endo is a Japanese defensive midfielder who plays for VfB Stuttgart. He played for Shonan Bellmare from 2008 to 2010 before joining Urawa Red Diamonds in 2016.

In 2018, he joined VfB Stuttgart and has since made 75 appearances for the club. Endo started his career with local side Sint-Truiden before joining J. League side VfB Stuttgart in 2018.

Endo has represented Japan at U19, U23 and Olympic level, where he was a runner up at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. With nine league appearances for VfB Stuttgart this season, Endo is hoping to nail down a regular starting spot next term.

Also Played For: vfb stuttgart

45. Keisuke Honda

Japan national football team

Keisuke Honda Career

  • 1994–1998: Settsu FC
  • 1999–2001: Gamba Osaka
  • 2002–2004: Seiryo High School
  • 2004–2007: Nagoya Grampus Eight
  • 2008–2009: VVV-Venlo
  • 2010–2013: CSKA Moscow
  • 2014–2017: AC Milan
  • 2017–2018: Pachuca
  • 2018–2019: Melbourne Victory
  • 2019: Vitesse
  • 2020: Botafogo
  • 2021: Neftçi Baku
  • 2021: Sūduva Marijampole
  • 2005: Japan U20
  • 2006–2008: Japan U23
  • 2008–2019: Japan
  • 2018–2023: Cambodia (general manager)
  • 2023: Cambodia U-23 (general manager)

Honda started his career with Settsu FC in 1994. He moved to Gamba Osaka in 1999 and played for the club until 2001. Honda then joined CSKA Moscow where he spent four seasons, making 94 appearances and scoring 20 goals.

In 2010, Honda transferred to Dutch side VVV-Venlo before signing for Cambodian side Cambodia U-23 as a general manager earlier this year. Keisuke Honda is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for AC Milan and the Japan national team.

He started his career with Kyoto Purple Sanga in 2005, before transferring to JEF United Chiba in 2007. In 2009, he moved abroad to play for Spanish side Real Madrid and won back-to-back La Liga titles that year and 2010–11 UEFA Champions League trophy. 

After two years at Bayern Munich, Honda returned to Japan to join Chelsea where he won another Premier League title in 2013–14 season as well as the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2014–15 season.

During his time at Stamford Bridge, Honda also made 36 appearances for the senior Japan national team across three World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018). 

After leaving Chelsea after their relegation from the Premier League in 2017, Honda joined Pachuca on a one-year contract but left them midway through 2018 due to injury problems which saw him miss most of the Clausura tournament.

This led him to drop down several pecking orders within JFA's squad selection policy towards 2020 onwards leading up to Tokyo2020 Olympic qualifiers campaign which eventually ended unsuccessfully with 0 points from 6 matches played including 1 loss against. 

Qatar representative football team making it Keisuke Honda last appearance representing Japan nationally football team internationally until now 2019 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Jordan.

46. Daichi Kamada

Eintracht Frankfurt

Daichi Kamada Career

  • 2008: Kids FC
  • 2009–2012: Gamba Osaka
  • 2012–2014: Higashiyama High School
  • 2015–2017: Sagan Tosu
  • 2015: J.League U-22 (loan)
  • 2017: Eintracht Frankfurt
  • 2018–2019: Sint-Truiden (loan)
  • 2016: Japan U21
  • 2016: Japan U23
  • 2019: Japan
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 13 November 2022, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 5 December 2022

Daichi Kamada is a Japanese attacking midfielder who currently plays for Eintracht Frankfurt. He started his career with Kids FC in 2008 and quickly established himself as one of the most promising young players in Japan.

In 2017, he made his debut for the senior national team and has since become an important member of their squad. 

At 26 years old, Daichi Kamada is already considered one of the best midfielders in Europe and looks set to continue playing at the highest level for many years to come Daichi Kamada is a Japanese footballer who plays as a midfielder for Sagan Tosu.

He has played for Higashiyama High School and Gamba Osaka in the J1 League, before joining Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018. 

Daichi Kamada made his international debut in 2016, playing for Japan U21s. In 2019 he was called up to the senior side and has since contributed six goals across 26 appearances.

Also Played For: sagan tosu fc

47. Takefusa Kubo

RCD Mallorca

Takefusa Kubo Career

  • 2008–2009: FC Persimmon
  • 2008–2010: Tokyo Verdy
  • 2010–2011: Kawasaki Frontale
  • 2011–2015: Barcelona
  • 2015–2016: FC Tokyo
  • 2016–2018: FC Tokyo U-23
  • 2016–2019: FC Tokyo
  • 2018: Yokohama F. Marinos (loan)
  • 2019–2022: Real Madrid
  • 2019–2020: Mallorca (loan)
  • 2020–2021: Villarreal (loan)
  • 2021: Getafe (loan)
  • 2021–2022: Mallorca (loan)
  • 2022: Real Sociedad
  • 2015–2016: Japan U16
  • 2016–2017: Japan U17
  • 2016–2018: Japan U20
  • 2018: Japan U21
  • 2019: Japan U23
  • 2019: Japan

Kubo is a young Japanese winger who currently plays for Real Sociedad. Kubo made his senior debut with FC Tokyo in 2015, and has since played for Barcelona, Kawasaki Frontale, and now Real Sociedad.

Kubo is known for his explosive speed and crossing ability on the left wing, which has seen him score goals both at youth level and in senior football. 

Kubo will be looking to help his team secure their first La Liga title since 2012 this season as they compete against some of the best teams in Europe.

Takefusa Kubo is a Japanese football player who currently plays for FC Tokyo of the J-League. He has played for Japan at various youth levels, including appearances at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and 2017 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers. 

Takefusa Kubo officially made his debut with FC Tokyo in March 2018, coming on as a substitute in a match against Sagan Tosu F.C.

In February 2019, he was loaned to Spanish side Mallorca until the end of the season. During his time with Mallorca, he scored five goals in three league matches before returning to FC Tokyo prior to their game against Albirex Niigata Avispa Fukuoka on 10 May 2019."

Takefusa Kubo signs new contract extension with FC Tokyo". Football Channel Asia.

17 May 2019. On 13 July 2020, it was announced that Takefusa Kubo had joined La Liga side Real Sociedad on an initial two year deal after impressing during pre-season. 

At international level, Takefuza Kuba represented Japan at under-16 and under-20 level before making his senior debut in October 2018 aged 22 years old playing against Cambodia in an international friendly match.

Also Played For: real sociedad, spain young

48. Alireza Jahanbakhsh


Alireza Jahanbakhsh Career

  • 2005–2007: Payam Alborz Qazvin
  • 2007–2008: Persian Qazvin
  • 2008–2010: Damash Gilan
  • 2010–2011: Damash Tehran
  • 2011–2013: Damash Gilan
  • 2013–2015: NEC
  • 2015–2018: AZ
  • 2018–2021: Brighton & Hove Albion
  • 2021: Feyenoord
  • 2010–2013: Iran U20
  • 2011–2015: Iran U23
  • 2013: Iran

Alireza Jahanbakhsh is a Iranian professional footballer who currently plays for Feyenoord in the Dutch Eredivisie. He started his career playing for Payam Alborz Qazvin before joining Persian Qazvin in 2007.

In 2010, he joined Damash Gilan and made over 100 appearances for them before moving to Feyenoord in 2017. 

Jahanbakhsh has represented Iran at U-17, U-19, and senior level, including appearing at the 2012 AFC Youth Championship as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup where they reached the quarterfinals of the tournament.

He is known for his attacking midfield play which has seen him score 14 goals in 103 appearances across all competitions.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh is a prolific Iranian footballer who has played for Damash Tehran, NEC and AZ in Iran's top flight. He was called up to the Iran national team in 2013 and made his debut that year against Syria.

Jahanbakhsh represented Iran at the AFF U-19 Youth Championship where he won the title in 2012. In 2015, he transferred to Dutch side NEC before joining English club Brighton & Hove Albion two years later on a permanent deal worth £2 million pounds.

Also Played For: feyenoord

49. Koo Ja-Cheol

Al-Gharafa SC

Koo Ja-Cheol Career

  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2007–2011: Jeju United: 70: (7)
  • 2011–2014: VfL Wolfsburg: 32: (0)
  • 2012–2013: → FC Augsburg (loan): 36: (8)
  • 2014–2015: Mainz 05: 39: (6)
  • 2015–2019: FC Augsburg: 104: (14)
  • 2019–2021: Al-Gharafa: 38: (6)
  • 2021: Al-Khor: 8: (0)
  • 2022–: Jeju United: 9: (1)
  • 2007–2009: South Korea U20: 16: (5)
  • 2009–2012: South Korea U23: 16: (5)
  • 2008–2019: South Korea: 76: (19)

Koo Ja-Cheol is a South Korean midfielder who currently plays for Jeju United. Koo made his professional debut with Jeju United in 2007, before moving to German side VfL Wolfsburg in 2011.

He spent two seasons at FC Augsburg on loan before signing for Al-Gharafa of Qatar in 2019. Koo has represented Korea at under-19, under-20 and senior level, including appearances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics respectively.

Koo is known as an accurate passer with good distribution skills, which has seen him be described as a "safe option" by managers throughout his career thus far Koo Ja-Cheol was born on October 10th, 1991 in Daejeon, South Korea. 

After playing for amateur clubs in his homeland, Koo joined Jeju United ahead of the 2007 season and went on to make 16 appearances for the club before being signed by Seoul Samsung Bluewings during the 2009 season.

Following a successful year with Seoul Samsung Bluewings which culminated in qualification for the 2010 AFC Asian Cup where he played as part of South Korea's team that reached their first ever final tournament, Koo moved abroad to join Qatar SC in January 2011. 

He made 26 appearances over two seasons at Qatari side Al-Khor before joining Jeju United once again ahead of the 2015 season where he has since represented his country 76 times scoring 19 goals including one appearance at both the 2018 World Cup and 2020 Olympics tournaments respectively.

50. Hiroki Sakai

Japan national football team

Hiroki Sakai Career

  • 2003–2008: Kashiwa Reysol
  • 2009–2012: Kashiwa Reysol
  • 2012–2016: Hannover 96
  • 2016–2021: Marseille
  • 2021: Urawa Red Diamonds
  • 2011–2012: Japan U23
  • 2021: Japan Olympic (O.P.)
  • 2012: Japan

Hiroki Sakai is a Japanese professional footballer who currently plays for Urawa Red Diamonds. In 2003, Hiroki Sakai started his career with Kashiwa Reysol and he has since made over 200 appearances in the J-League.

At international level, Hiroki Sakai has represented Japan at under-17, under-19 and senior levels. He made his full international debut in November 2009 against Kazakhstan. In June 2018, Hiroki Sakai was named in Japan's World Cup squad by manager Vahid Halilhodzic.

He played one minute of their opening match against Croatia before being substituted off for Gen Shoji. After impressing during Japan's qualifying campaign, Hiroki Sakai signed a new contract with Urawa Red Diamonds until 2020 on 12 July 2017.

Outside of football, Hiroshi is also involved in philanthropy through his involvement with the "Hiroaki Sasakawa Memorial Foundation". Born to a Japanese father and an English mother.

Hiroshi attended Stonyhurst College, where he played for college side Lancaster University between 2010 and 2012 before joining Yokohama F Marinos on loan from Liverpool.

Also Played For: urawa red diamonds, olympique de marseille

51. Takashi Inui

Japan national football team

Takashi Inui Career

  • 1995–2004: Saison Football Club
  • 2004–2006: Yasu High School
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2007–2009: Yokohama F. Marinos: 7: (0)
  • 2008: → Cerezo Osaka (loan): 20: (6)
  • 2009–2011: Cerezo Osaka: 94: (29)
  • 2011–2012: VfL Bochum: 30: (7)
  • 2012–2015: Eintracht Frankfurt: 75: (7)
  • 2015–2018: Eibar: 89: (11)
  • 2018–2019: Betis: 8: (0)
  • 2019: → Alavés (loan): 12: (2)
  • 2019–2021: Eibar: 57: (3)
  • 2021–2022: Cerezo Osaka: 13: (4)
  • 2022–: Shimizu S-Pulse: 0: (0)
  • 2006: Japan U21: 2: (0)
  • 2009–: Japan: 36: (6)

Takashi Inui is a talented Japanese winger who has played for several top clubs in his career. Takashi Inui made an impact at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, scoring one goal and providing two assists in six matches.

Takashi Inui is currently playing for Shimizu S-Pulse in Japan's J1 League. Takashi Inui can play both as a winger and as an attacking midfielder on the pitch, making him very versatile. 

The 34-year-old has been impressive with Cerezo Osaka over the past few seasons, scoring 29 goals from 94 appearances between 2009 and 2011 alone.

With 33 caps to his name, Takashi Inui is a regular member of Japan's national team and was part of their squad that qualified for the World Cup this year\. 

The Tokyo native will be looking to continue his good form at the tournament and help Japan reach the knockout stages where they could potentially meet Brazil or Belgium in what would be a fascinating match up.

Final Words

. . The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body for association football, beach soccer and futsal in Asia. The best players of all time are those who have made significant contributions to their respective teams or tournaments.

Some of the most prominent AFC stars include Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Pele and Miroslav Klose.

Photo of author

Andrew Kovacs

I am a Head Boys Soccer Coach at Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts. I have coached for the past five years and I am currently working on my master's degree in Exercise Science. I coach soccer because I love the game and I enjoy being around the kids. It is rewarding to see them develop their skills and grow as individuals. LinkedIn

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