Sydney: John Aloisi may not have shared a dressing room with Javad Nekounam, but he knows plenty about his fellow former Osasuna player.
Former Australia striker Aloisi scored 37 goals in 129 appearances for the club from 2001 to 2005, while IR Iran’s Nekounam, who joined in 2006, would go on to become a fan favourite over two stints and nearly 200 matches for Los Rojillos.
The duo - alongside another former Iranian Osasuna star, Masoud Shojaei - are both in the running for this week’s Asia’s Greatest Players in Spanish Football poll, and according to Aloisi, Nekounam was a highly respected figure at the club.
Asian Classics: Vingada relives Saudi Arabia's 1996 AFC Asian Cup triumph
Kuala Lumpur: Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Saudi Arabia were the dominant force at the AFC Asian Cup, winning the Continental title in their first two appearances – in 1984 and 1988 – and finishing as runners-up to Japan in 1992.
But as the clock ticked towards the 1996 Finals in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia were under pressure. Coach Ze Mario had been fired following a disappointing showing at the Gulf Cup and new man Nelo Vingada given a month to prepare his team for the Finals.
Despite the difficulties, the Portuguese coach would lead Saudi Arabia to a record-equalling third continental title, the last time – to date – the country would claim the most prestigious trophy in the Asian game.
Li Ke: I aim to do even better with China PR, Beijing FC
Beijing: It has been a whirlwind 18 months for England-born midfielder Li Ke, who moved to Beijing FC last January before taking up Chinese citizenship and making his debut under FIFA World Cup winner Marcello Lippi. He tells the-AFC.com about his new life in China PR.
Li Ke admits to being apprehensive the first time he was called up for the China national team, when the former Arsenal and Brentford midfielder was included by Marcello Lippi in his squad to face the Philippines in Guangzhou last June.
East Asia & ASEAN Wrap: Jeonbuk and Ulsan win again
Kuala Lumpur: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai edged to narrow wins over the weekend as they continue to set the pace in Korea Republic's K League.
In Vietnam, Saigon claimed the bragging rights after a derby day victory over Ho Chi Minh City FC saw them move top of the V.League, while Taichung Futoro won again to stay in pole position in Chinese Taipei.
It was also a good weekend for China PR's star man in Spain and Japan's representation in Germany's top flight, while there was an Indonesian debut in Serbia, so join the-AFC.com as we review the best of the action from East Asia and ASEAN.
Sydney: Football Federation Australia (FFA) has announced the extension of the A-League 2019/20 season until August 31, 2020, has been finalised following extensive discussions with A-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA).
FFA Chief Executive James Johnson acknowledged the agreement and said “I’d like to thank the players and clubs for their commitment to re-starting the A-League 2019/20 season.
"These are extremely challenging times and I’d like to acknowledge the leadership shown by all to ensure our loyal supporters across Australia will be able to see their favourite teams back in action again soon."
Dubai: The West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) has decided to postpone the 10th edition of the WAFF Championship following discussions with Member Associations.
Representatives from Jordan, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon and Yemen took part in the video conference. They reviewed several items, and reaffirmed the importance of the tournament and its technical value to the teams in the region.
Kuala Lumpur: With the 2020 AFC Champions League currently on hiatus, the-AFC.com continues its series of articles to determine your best sides from the last four editions of the Continental competition.