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Vote for your best ever AFC Asian Cup defender

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Vote For Your Best Ever Defender Photo

Kuala Lumpur: We are three months away from January's AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, and continues its series of articles to determine your all-time best AFC Asian Cup side. 

In the past few weeks you have been voting for the best forwards and midfielders, and now it's time to turn our attention to defenders.

So, here are eight candidates for the spots at the backline. Review the nominees and then choose your favourite defenders for this all-star XI in the poll below.

See also :

Mehdi Mahdavikia - IR Iran

Third Place - 1996 and 2004 AFC Asian Cup

Capable of playing at the right side of defence or midfield, Mehdi Mahdavikia was one of the finest talents to come out the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mahdavikia was vital for Iran in the last two times they reached the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup in 1996 and in 2004, earning a place in the 2004 Team of the Tournament.

The 2003 AFC Player of the Year spent the majority of his career playing in the German Bundesliga, and is Team Melli's fourth most capped player with 110 appearances, including two involvements in the FIFA World Cup.

Hong Myung-bo - Korea Republic

Team of the tournament - 2000 AFC Asian Cup

One of the most globally recognised Asian defenders, Hong Myung-bo was instrumental to the Taeguk Warriors' historic run to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup, becoming the only Asian defender to ever be included in a World Cup Team of the Tournament.

Korea Republic's joint-most capped player, alongside Cha Bum-kun, with 136 caps, Hong played in four FIFA World Cups and two AFC Asian Cups.

In 2000, he was named in the AFC Asian Cup Team of the Tournament after helping Korea Republic to a third-place finish.

Saleh Al Nuaimah - Saudi Arabia

Champion - 1984 and 1988 AFC Asian Cup

Widely recognised as Saudi Arabia's finest ever defender, the former Al Hilal legend combined defensive solidity with vision and a diverse passing range that helped him contribute to attacking play.

Al Nuaimah lifted back-to-back AFC Asian Cup titles as captain in 1984 and 1988, and was picked in the 1988 Team of the Tournament.

A specialist penalty kick taker, Al Nuaimah scored in penalty shootout wins in the 1984 semi-final and in the 1988 final. He retired in 1990 having earned 99 caps for the Green Falcons.

Jamal Mubarak - Kuwait

Team of the tournament - 2000 AFC Asian Cup

A key member of the Kuwait side that impressed in the 1990s and early 2000s, reaching the semi-finals of the 1996 AFC Asian Cup and the quarter-finals in the 2000 edition, the latter of which he was named in the team of the tournament.

Mubarak is acknowledged as one of the best Kuwaiti players of all-time, and one of just seven players to have won over 100 caps for the country.

The former centre-back represented his nation in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and scored a goal against Cameroon in the group stage.

Yuji Nakazawa - Japan

Team of the tournament - 2004 AFC Asian Cup

Japan was the last team to walk victorious with the AFC Asian Cup for two times in a row and Yuji Nakazawa was one of the main reasons behind that success.

The defender played a crucial role in his country's success in both the 2000 and 2004 AFC Asian Cups and in the latter he was named among the best 11 players in Team of the tournament.

Nakazawa represented the Samurai Blue in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.

Zheng Zhi - China PR

Team of the tournament - 2004 AFC Asian Cup

The only current player in our list, Zheng is 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.

Although frequently playing as a midfielder, Zheng impressed as a defender, helping China PR reach the 2004 AFC Asian Cup final on home soil, earning himself a place in the Team of the Tournament.

Zheng's club career saw him win the Chinese Super League with three different teams and claim the AFC Champions League title twice with Guangzhou Evergrande, as well as playing in the English Premier League with Charlton Athletic.

Lucas Neill - Australia

Team of the tournament - 2011 AFC Asian Cup

Neil was unfortunate to retire before Australia won the AFC Asian Cup in 2015, but he was the captain of the side that reached the final four years earlier and was named in the Team of the Tournament.

In Qatar 2011, the Socceroos' defence, led by Neil, conceded just one goal en route to the final, where they remained resilient for the 90 minutes before an extra-time goal gave Japan the trophy.

The Sydney-born defender spent 15 years of his career in England, representing the likes of Millwall, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.

Soh Chin Aun - Malaysia

Team of the tournament - 1980 AFC Asian Cup

Malaysia put their best performance at an AFC Asian Cup in the 1980 edition, where Soh Chin Aun's performances earned him a place amongst the best 11 players in Team of the Tournament.

In that year, Malaysia were unlucky to be drawn in the same group as the two eventual finalists; Kuwait and Korea Republic. In their opening game they earned a draw against the Taeguk Warriors, while their only loss of the campaign was against champions Kuwait.

Soh led Malaysia to their only ever appearance in the Olympic Games in Munich 1972, where Malaysia defeated the United States, but narrowly missed out on a place in the next round.

Now that you've seen all eight star defenders, vote for your best in the poll and secure them a place in the all-time AFC Asian Cup line-up.

Who is your favourite defender?
Mehdi Mahdavikia
Hong Myung-bo
Saleh Al Nuaimah
Jamal Mubarak
Yuji Nakazawa
Zheng Zhi
Lucas Neill
Soh Chin Aun
Created with Quiz Creator

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