Fans' Best XI Announced!
Kuala Lumpur: After weeks of voting to choose your best ever AFC Asian Cup XI, it is time to announce the winners.
Over the years, the AFC Asian Cup has produced some brilliant footballers and coaches. So, we gave fans the opportunity to vote for who they considered as the greatest 11 players in the competition's history.
After 2.6 million votes on the-AFC.com over the past few weeks, it is now time to announce the players who made the final XI alongside six substitutes who narrowly missed out on a starting XI place.
See also :
The last Team Melli coach to win the AFC Asian Cup, leading the IR Iran to win the title in 1976. Mohajerani cemented his status as an all-time great by taking the team into their first ever FIFA World Cup two years later. His impact was not limited to his home country, as he led the UAE to their AFC Asian Cup debut.
For full results of the coach voting, click here
Nasser Hejazi (Overall Vote Winner)
The Iconic Iranian goalkeeper led his country to win back-to-back AFC Asian Cup titles in 1972 and 1976. He was also their number one in the 1972 Olympic Games and was a key member of the first Team Melli squad to qualify to the FIFA World Cup in 1978.
At club level, Hejazi led Esteghlal (then known as Taj) to become the first Iranian side to win the Asian Club Championship in 1970.
Substitute: Noor Sabri
Iraq’s goalkeeper for 16 years, Sabri was a member of the Lions of Mesopatamia’s golden generation that finished fourth in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and went on to become AFC Asian Cup champions three years later.
For the full results of the goalkeeper vote, click here
Mehdi Mahdavikia (Overall Vote Winner)
Team Melli's fourth most capped player with 110 appearances, Mahdavikia appeared in two FIFA World Cups and helped IR Iran reach the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup in 1996 and 2004. He spent the majority of his club career playing in Germany, where he was most synonymous with Hamburg.
Saleh Al Nuaimah
The only captain in the history of the AFC Asian Cup to lift back-to-back trophies, Al Nuaimah won the title with Saudi Arabia in 1984 and 1988, scoring the penalty shootouts in the 1984 semi-finals and in the 1988 final. He retired in 1990 having represented the Green Falcons 99 times.
China PR's fourth most capped player with 102 appearances, and one of only two Chinese players to have ever been named AFC Player of the Year, winning the award in 2013, Zheng helped his country reach the 2004 AFC Asian Cup final on home soil, while being named in the Team of the Tournament.
Mubarak was named in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup Team of the Tournament as Kuwait reached the quarter-finals. He was also part of the side that reached the semi-finals four years earlier.
Soh Chin Aun
Soh was a pillar for Malaysia in his heydays and was named in the 1980 AFC Asian Cup Team of the Tournament.
For full results of defender voting, click here
Ali Karimi (Overall Vote Winner)
The 2004 AFC Asian Cup joint top scorer and Asian Player of the Year in the same year, Ali Karimi helped IR Iran finish fourth in that edition of the competition, and is widely recognised as one of the best Iranian players of all time.
Another member of Iraq’s golden generation of the mid 2000s, Akram become an Asian champion at the U-19 level in 2000 before narrowly missing out on an Olympic medal, as the Lions of Mesopotamia finished fourth in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He was named in the Team of the Tournament in Iraq’s historic 2007 AFC Asian Cup winning campaign.
The midfielder was named in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup as China PR reached the semi-finals for the first time in their history, scoring three goals in the competition. He was also a key player in the team that reached the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Two-time Asian Player of the Year, Djeparov led Uzbekistan to the AFC Asian Cup semi-finals for the first time in 2011, scoring two and assisting two more. The winger played club football across the continent, representing clubs in Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, IR Iran as well as Uzbekistan.
One of the most globally recognisable Asian players, Honda was the tournament’s MVP as Japan lifted the AFC Asian Cup trophy in 2011. Honda is the only Japanese player to score in three World Cups.
Fahd Al Harifi
Al Harifi scored the winning penalty in the 1988 AFC Asian Cup final. Four years later, he was the tournament's top goslcorer with four goals as Saudi Arabia finished runners-up.
Koo was the 2011 AFC Asian Cup top scorer as Korea Republic finished third. He played and score in the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
For the full results of midfielders vote, click here
Ali Daei (Overall Vote Winner)
The AFC Asian Cup’s all-time top goal scorer, Daei was the top scorer in 1996 with eight goals, and he went on to score in the 2000 and 2004 editions. The IR Iran legend bagged 109 goals in 149 caps as the highest scoring player in international football.
Yasser Al Qahtani
The 2007 AFC Asian Cup top scorer helped Saudi Arabia reach the final with his four goals, before the Green Falcons lost to Iraq. Al Qahtani’s performances won him that year’s Asian Player of the Year.
The Iraq icon scored in four AFC Asian Cup editions; 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2015, but his best performances came in the title-winning campaign of 2007 where he was both the joint top scorer and MVP of the tournament.
For the full results of forwards vote, click here
Recommended Stories :