A lot of footballers over the past year have distinguished themselves with standout performances. Be it Europe, South America, Africa, or Asia, these few players have shone quite brightly over the past 12 months. In Asia particularly, there have been a couple of players who have stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Continue reading as we take a look at 5 of the best Asian players in 2021.
1. Son Heung-Min
Son has had quite an explosive year for club and country. The Tottenham Hotspur attacking midfielder has continued to develop steadily into a world-class player. This season Son has been very influential for his North London side. The striker has formed a deadly partnership with Harry Kane both of whom have accounted for about 75% of Tottenham’s goals this season with 13 goals each.
The 28-year-old has also continued his fine form in Europe. So, far he has scored 3 goals in 8 appearances in the Europa League as he tries to help Tottenham win a European trophy this season. Son was named the 2020 best Asian player by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). He is also the second Asian footballer to reach the UEFA Champions League final, after Park Ji Sung.
2. Takumi Minamino
The 26-year-old Japanese international has been one of the best Asian footballers over the past couple of years. The elegant attacking midfielder has enjoyed an increased profile over the past year, following his impressive performances, especially in the UEFA Champions League with RB Salzburg. His subsequent move to Merseyside giants Liverpool FC hasn’t been quite as successful. Hopefully, a loan move to fellow English side Southampton FC will give him more opportunities to show why he’s rated one of the best Asian talents on the scene right now.
3. Takefusa Kubo
The 19-year-old starlet has been rated as one of the best emerging Asian talents and future of Japanese football. Kubo, before his acquisition by Real Madrid, was a graduate of the famous FC Barcelona Academy La Masia. The winger nicknamed the Japanese Messi enjoyed a successful loan spell at Spanish side Real Mallorca where he scored 4 goals and provided 5 assists in 35 appearances. He’s currently on loan to another Spanish team Getafe CF.
4. Sardar Azmoun
The Iranian international is one of the best Asian players at the moment. The 26-year-old has been quite prolific in front of goal for his Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg. The striker has so far scored 39 goals in 58 appearances for top Russian football club. Azmoun also holds the record as the Iranian to have scored the most goals in a single season of the UEFA Champions League. He was named the second-best Asian player for 2020 by the IFFHS.
5. Akram Afif
The 24-year-old former Asian Footballer of the Year has also had a decent past 12 months. The Qatari international has been in fine form for his club Qatar outfit Al Saad SC. Akram has scored 49 goals in 57 appearances for Al Zaeem. He has proven to be one of the best Asian footballers right now.
- Takashi Inui (Japan) – Eibar
- Lee Kang-in (South Korea) – Valencia
- Ajdin Hrustic (Australia) – Eintracht Frankfurt
- Abderrazak Hamdallah – Al-Nassr
- Hwang Hee-chan (South Korea) – RB Leipzig
- Maya Yoshida (Japan) – Sampdoria
- Yoon Bit-garam – Ulsan Hyundai