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The Times


Asia’s Finest: The Prophets of Football from the East

The culture of Asiatic countries isn’t that prone to football, or at least to the practice or affiliation to clubs in general. They prize, probably due to the irrelevance of the Asiatic teams in the wide world of football, a bigger appreciation for players, rather than for teams.

Some exclusion ought to be made, such as China’s League, that was propped up and had, during a decade, a lot of incredible talent, or Japan, a league where players like Hulk or the legend Iniesta played in.

There are, nonetheless, a suitable number of players that originate in Asia and went on to make great careers and a name for themselves in Europe, at the highest level.

These are the big names in asian betting, and also in the marketing side of selling the good old sport on a part of the world that has big demographics and an increasingly avid attention to western culture.

That being said, who are the names shaping Asian football today?

Best Asian Players:

Heung Min Son

There’s no going around Heung Min Son when it comes to talk about Asian players. The man is simply a beast. Possessing an out of this world stamina, technical ability, and the poacher’s accuracy and timing, Min Son is the perfect companion to Kane, creating what is probably the best attacking duo in the world.

Born in South Korea as a gift for the football world, Min Son is not only the rightful heir of the prowess once given to Park, but a player that leaves us wondering what he could achieve if he was in a club that fought for titles.

Nonetheless, he impresses us every week, and for that, we are thankful.

Mehdi Taremi

While surely not as pacy as Min Son, Taremi is a classical number 9. With a wicked perception of the game, which allows him to be in the right place most of the times, he is bagging a lot of goals and winning over the hearts of fans from FC Porto.

He also appears in the big games, like in the Champions League or against the team rivals, showing that he can hide some technical imbalances with a perfect reading of the game, ability to play with the back to the keeper, and help develop the movements of his wingers.

Sardar Azmoun

Azmoun may be a veteran, but Cristiano Ronaldo should look out for him: 92 goals in 140 appearances with Iran. A clear poacher, he fails to rank higher because he is not an all-around player, but rather a clinical finisher.

Not offering too much to the team rather than his goal-scoring ability, what he gives is enough for him to create a great career, and be a menace for the opposing team every time he’s given time on the field.

Takehiro Tomiyasu

Arsenal made a bet on this young Japanese right back and surely, it paid off. At the ripe old age of 22, he is prone to evolve favorably, and develop his offensive skills in order to properly perform in the Premier League. What is worth mentioning is that he is already quite good when it comes to composure and defensive technique, having an incredible tackling discipline. And he’s bound to get even better as he matures.

Daichi Kamada

Daichi is the poster card boy of what started being called a 9 and a half. This position is peculiar as it is the phoenix rising from the death of the number 10. Now, a player that occupies such position in the field is task with not only constructing game, but also try and score for himself.

This is arguably one of the most difficult positions to play in, but Kamada has shown that he can operate both as a poacher and a playmaker, in a league as difficult as the Bundesliga.

Only time will tell if he will make a jump to somewhere higher than Frankfurt, but his faith is in his feet: fortunately.


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