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Vote for your best ACL2017 Team: Midfielders


Kuala Lumpur: As the-AFC.com continues to look back on the best performers from recent AFC Champions League campaigns, there is another star-studded cast on offer this week as we ask you, the fans, to name your best midfielders from the 2017 tournament. 

We began with the 2017 edition's best goalkeeper, next came the candidates for the backline and now it's time to shine the spotlight on the more attacking positions as we highlight the 10 standout candidates in midfield.

From Omar Abdulrahman to Paulinho, this list features some of the biggest talents in Asian football, so review the nominees and then choose your favourites for this all-star XI in the poll below.

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Omar AbdulrahmanAl Ain

  • 34 chances created (#1 by a midfielder)
  • 6 assists (#2 by a midfielder)
  • 7 goals scored (joint #1 by a midfielder)

After captaining Al Ain to a runners-up finish in 2016, Omar Abdulrahman's talent was on display once more a year later, creating more chances than any other midfielder – despite exiting at the quarter-finals – and posting the second highest number of assists.

Indeed, Amoory's tally of seven goals in 10 games was his finest return in the continental competition; however, sadly for the gifted Emirati, that elusive first AFC Champions League crown remained out of reach as Al Ain exited to Al Hilal.


Kengo NakamuraKawasaki Frontale

  • 7 assists (#1 by a midfielder)
  • 90.1% passing accuracy
  • 22 chances created

Orchestrating the Kawasaki Frontale play from the centre of midfield, Kengo Nakamura was, as ever, a joy to behold and can perhaps count himself unlucky that his side didn't go deeper into the competition.

He claimed an assist in six successive games from Matchday Five onwards, including in each leg of the quarter-final against Urawa Red Diamonds, only for 10-man Kawasaki to surrender a three-goal aggregate lead and miss out on a semi-final place.


Carlos EduardoAl Hilal

  • 7 goals (Joint #1 by a midfielder)
  • 28 dribbles (#2 by a midielder)
  • 1073 minutes played (#4 by a midfielder)

Al Hilal fans may argue that the outcome of the final may have been different had Carlos Eduardo not gone off injured early in the first leg and subsequently missed the return meeting, for the Brazilian had been outstanding throughout.

The midfielder had started every game, netting three times in the group stage and adding another in the last 16. His most notable contribution, however, was a quarter-final hat-trick that eliminated Al Ain, while the only game the Saudi side lost was the one match he played no part in.


Ricardo GoulartGuangzhou Evergrande

  • 7 goals (Joint #1 by a midfielder)
  • 44 shots on goal (#1 by a midfielder)
  • 17 shots on target (#1 by a midfielder)

Ricardo Goulart announced his arrival in China PR in some style in 2015, top scoring as Guangzhou won their second continental title, and the Brazilian produced the goods once more in 2017.

A stunning hat-trick in the quarter-final second leg against Shanghai SIPG helped reverse a 4-0 first-leg deficit, although the tournament ended on a sour note for Goulart, whose penalty miss in the subsequent shootout resulted in Guangzhou's exit.


Nam Tae-heeAl Duhail

  • 85.5% passing accuracy
  • 4 goals scored
  • 3 assists

Slick on the ball, excellent vision and fine execution, Nam Tae-hee's considerable talents were on display in an attack-minded Lekhwiya side that were pleasing on the eye but ultimately fell just short in the last 16.

Fabulous long-range goals in the group stage against Al Fateh and Esteghlal Khouzestan made the tournament showreel, while his creativity enabled others around him to shine too.


Wu LeiShanghai SIPG

  • 5 goals scored
  • 21 chances created
  • 14 dribbles completed

After debuting a year earlier, Wu Lei proved he was no flash in the pan in 2017 as he again stood out in a Shanghai SIPG side littered with talent, linking up with the likes of Hulk, Oscar and Elkeson in one of the most exciting teams in the competition.

Two goals in the 4-0 quarter-final first-leg win over Guangzhou was perhaps his most telling contribution as Shanghai advanced on penalties following a 5-5 aggregate draw.


Nicolas MilesiAl Hilal

  • 2 goals scored, 4 assists
  • 87.7% passing accuracy
  • 22 tackles won (#2 by a midfielder)

Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Milesi offered a little bit of everything in the Al Hilal midfield – box-to-box energy, hard in the tackle, creativity and even a rare couple of goals.

Indeed, while Al Hilal were unbeaten until the second leg of the final, they were losing to Al Rayyan on Matchday Six and risked missing out on top spot in the group, but two goals from Milesi helped see them over the line in a 4-3 win.


PaulinhoGuangzhou Evergrande

  • 5 goals scored
  • 86.6% passing accuracy
  • 48 duels won

One of the top performers in the AFC Champions League since his arrival in 2015, Paulinho's contribution from midfield was again invaluable as the Brazilian added a further five goals in eight games.

He scored home and away against Kashima Antlers in the last 16 as Guangzhou edged into the quarter-finals; however, his subsequent move to Barcelona left the Guangdong side without their main man as they exited to Shanghai SIPG.


Salem Al DawsariAl Hilal

  • 5 assists, 1 goal scored
  • 19 chances created
  • 25 shots on goal

Having been in and out the side – in part due to injury – up until the knockout rounds, Salem Al Dawsari rose to the fore in emphatic style from there forward, with one goal and five assists from the second leg of the Round of 16 onwards.

The mercurial winger set up Omar Khribin's equaliser in the first leg of the final, but his dismissal in the return meeting soured his campaign. Revenge would be a sweet one two years later.


Rodrigo TabataAl Rayyan

  • 4 goals scored
  • 4 assists
  • 20 shots on goal

As so often, Rodrigo Tabata was one of the players to watch in the group stages yet, once more, Al Rayyan were unable to make it past the first hurdle and the Brazilian-born midfielder's considerable contribution remains somewhat forgotten.

Tabata registered a goal or assist – or both – in four of his six matches. Indeed, he scored one and set up two in Al Rayyan's must-win final group stage game against Al Hilal, when a 4-3 defeat confirmed their elimination.


The polls end on June 28 at 4pm (UTC+8). The Best XI chosen by fans and the best XI based on the 2017 statistics will be announced at the beginning of July.

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