When legends return: Eight favourite sons who came home and conquered
Kuala Lumpur: The return of the prodigal son. It is a footballing plot point nearly as old as the game itself, with the reappearance of a long-departed local hero possessing a special ability to stir the passions of even the most jaded of fans.
Asia has had no shortage of these storylines, with a range of pioneering football exports and national team icons going back to where it all started to cap off their careers.
To coincide with FC Seoul’s signing of former Korea Republic captain Ki Sung-yueng, the-AFC.com looks at eight local heroes who returned, and thrived, after years abroad.
Kuala Lumpur: It's that time of the week when the-AFC.com looks back at some of the finest goals the AFC Cup has witnessed over the years, with the latest '5 of the Best' taking in chips, lobs and scoops.
Sydney FC clinch Premiers Plate as Phoenix are denied by Adelaide
Sydney: Sydney FC were confirmed as A-League Premiers after their closest challengers Wellington Phoenix drew 1-1 against a revitalised Adelaide United on Saturday.
Wellington now trail the runaway leaders by 11 points with only three games left to play after substitute Ulises Davila saw his 88th-minute penalty saved by in-form Reds gloveman Paul Izzo at Bankwest Stadium.
Jaushua Sotirio levelled five minutes after Kristian Opseth had put Adelaide ahead on the hour mark and, although the draw lifts Phoenix ahead of Melbourne City into second place, the Sky Blues cannot be caught in the race for the Premiers Plate.
Doha: Al Sadd SC head coach Xavi is recovering in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, with the results announced on social media on Saturday.
The Barcelona legend and 2010 FIFA World Cup winner – who will be absent when Al Sadd meet Al Khor in Saturday’s league fixture - announced his diagnosis via the club’s official Twitter account, telling fans that he was “feeling okay”.
Zhang Xizhe: Beijing FC striving for the CSL title
Shanghai: Beijing FC midfielder Zhang Xizhe believes recent history shows his side could be ready to clinch their first Chinese Super League title since 2009 as the capital city club prepare to commence their campaign against Chongqing Lifan on Sunday.
A traditional giant of the Chinese game, Beijing were last crowned champions in 2009 – a season that saw a teenage Zhang make his debut for the side – but they have endured numerous near misses since, with three runners-up finishes and twice coming third in the past decade.
The last two years, however, have seen Beijing lift the FA Cup in 2018 and run Guangzhou Evergrande close to the 2019 CSL title, finishing just two points adrift of the Guangdong club after a pulsating title race that saw Beijing achieve a record points tally of 70.