Emirati football player Ahmed Khalil was named The Best Player in Asia for 2015, beating the Chinese Zheng Zhi, who had won the award in 2013, as well as the Emirati Omar Abdul Rahman, who ranked second and third respectively.
However, the Al-Ahli player is not the first Arab to be honored with this award that was first distributed in 1984 through a survey conducted by the Asia-Oceania Soccer magazine, before the Asian Union began running it in 1994.
Here are the Arab footballers who have been named The Best Player in Asia over the last 31 years.
1. Ahmed Khalil, 2015
Khalil’s career started with Al Ahli club in 2006 where he is still playing to this day.
This Emirati attacker, who was born in 1991, also has played for the national football team since 2010.
2. Nasser Al-Shamrani, 2014
Al Shamrani, who was born in 1983, was player of the year in 2014 after he scored 10 goals in the championship, contributing to the qualification of his Saudi club, Al Hilal, for the AFC Champions League.
Al Shamrani has been an international Saudi football player since 2008 and had played with the Al Wehda and Al Shabab clubs before he joined Al Hilal.
3. Yasser Al-Qahtani, 2007
Al Qahtani was honored in 2007 after an amazing year with the Saudi national team and Al Hilal club after he moved from the Qadsiah club in 2005.
This attacker, born in 1982, has played for the national team since 2002.
4. Khalfan Ibrahim, 2006
Khalfan Ibrahim, Qatari football attacker and a member of Al Sad club, was born in 1988 and was player of the year in 2006 after contributing to his club’s win in the championship of Qatar Stars League as well as the Crown Prince of Qatar Cup.
In the same year, Khalfan also led the national Qatari team to win the Asian Games.
5. Hamad Al-Montashari, 2005
This Al Etihad defense player captured attention as he joined this club after starting on its youth team.
International Saudi player Al-Montashari is distinguished with his ability to pass the ball with flexibility as well as his talent in heading the ball and scoring definitive goals.
6. Nawaf Al-Temyat, 2000
Nawaf played as a mid-field football player in Al Hilal team between 1993 and 2008 and is known for his definitive goals as well as his look at the court and his calmness under fire.
He was player of the year after shining with Al Hilal in 2000 and taking the ACL championship, Crown Prince Cup, Cup of Saudi Federation and Arab Cup Winners' Cup.
7. Saeed Al-Owairan, 1994
Who doesn't remember the charming goal scored by the Saudi attacker Saeed Al-Owairan against Belgium in the World Cup of 1994?
In that same year, Al-Owairan won the GCC Champions League and the Arab Clubs Cup Champions League with Al Shabab club, where he played between 1988 and 2001.
8. Ahmed Radi, 1988
Ahmed Radi played an important role in Iraq’s success in the GCC Champions League between 1984 and 1988, and played with Iraq's Al-Zawra'a club before moving to the Qatari club Al-Wakrah following the finals of the World Cup of 1993.
Radi shined with the Iraqi National team in his sole participation in the World Cup of 1986.
In 2008, he became involved in the political sphere and became a member of the Iraqi parliament with the Accordance Front block. Afterwards, he became a member in Parliament's Youth and Sports Committee as well as a member of the United for Reform coalition.
9. Majed Abdullah, 1984, 1985 and 1986
Abdullah is tied, with Korean mid-field attacker Kim Joo-sung, for the most Best Player in Asia awards.
He played football between 1997 and 1998 with Saudi Arabia's Al-Nasr club, scoring 260 goals for the team.
This article was originally posted in Arabic on YallaFeed.