Kuala Lumpur: With the focus having firmly been on the opening games of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers, the AFC Champions League has taken a back seat in recent weeks.
Whether on international duty, jetting off far and wide or simply enjoying some downtime with their families, the players still involved in the Continental competition have remained active on social media, though. Here's the-AFC.com's look at some of the highlights.
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Many Happy Returns
Shanghai SIPG’s star midfielder Oscar celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday with a night out on the city’s famous waterfront.
The Brazilian will be hoping to light up Saitama Stadium when the Chinese champions take on Urawa Red Diamonds next Tuesday.
Like Father, Like Son
Al Ittihad captain Carlos Villanueva’s son, Franco, set foot on the King Abdullah Sports City pitch for the first time.
If he has anything like the footballing talent of his father, fans of the Jeddah club will hope he, too, turns out for The Tigers in years to come.
While the J.League may have been on a break, there has still been J.League Cup action in Japan, and Kashima Antlers will hope their win against Urawa can lead to further Continental success.
After advancing to the semi-finals of the domestic competition, Shoma Doi now aims to do the same when the holders take on Guangzhou Evergrande next Wednesday.
Another player who took advantage of the time off was Bafetimbi Gomis, who swapped Asia for Africa as he headed to the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
After visiting one of the city’s beautiful mosques, the Frenchman will hope he returns to Riyadh with the divine inspiration to fire Al Hilal past rivals Al Ittihad on Tuesday.
There has been no respite for Urawa Red Diamonds’ Kenyu Sugimuto, meanwhile, with the striker partaking in this somewhat unusual exercise routine.
The 26-year-old explained that it is designed to help balance and movement – will the proof be in the pudding when the 2017 champions host Shanghai early next week?
Prolific Al Sadd frontman Baghdad Bounedjah returned to his native Algeria for a friendly match against Benin on Monday.
Some 45,000 spectators turned out to see the side’s first home game – a 1-0 victory – since Bounedjah fired them to African Cup of Nations glory in July.
After putting in a Man-of-the-Match performance in the first leg against Kashima, Guangzhou’s Anderson Talisca headed to the tropical paradise of the Thai islands.
The Brazilian, who recently returned from a long injury lay-off, should be refreshed for the second leg as his team continue their quest for an unprecedented third AFC Champions League title.
Al Nassr’s Omar Hawsawi led Saudi Arabia’s Green Falcons out in Thursday’s 1-1 friendly draw against Mali in Dammam and Tuesday's surprise 2-2 stalemate against Yemen in Bahrain.
Once he returns from international duty, his focus will turn to ensuring the Riyadh side can progress past Al Sadd into the last four, and a third successive draw would do just nicely.
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