5 Asian Footballers Who Rose to Prominence in Recent Times

Football in Asian Subcontinent is not followed with the same intensity and passion as is loved in the European and South American Countries. Despite the considerable difference between the performance and athleticism level, many Asian footballers made their presence felt among the world’s best players. Here are the 5 Asian players who rose to prominence in recent years.

Ji-sung Park

Ji-sung is one of the finest Asian footballers of his generation. The former South Korea International has been a vital part of the illustrious Manchester United squad of 2008/09 season, which had the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, and many other legends.

After signing from PSV Eindhoven for a reported fee of £6.57m back in the year 2005, the former Asian footballer of the year went on to win 4 Premier Leagues, 1 UEFA Champions League in 204 appearances scoring 28 goals, and assisting 29 times under Sir Alex Ferguson. He left The Red Devils in 2012 for Queens Park Rangers. T

The attacking midfielder had a pretty good stint in the Eindhoven, where he featured in 119 games scoring 19 goals and assisting in 16 occasions for the Boeren in all competitions. The 2-time Dutch League winner earned 100 caps for the South Korea National team and netted 13 times. The Asian veteran announced his retirement from professional football on 1st July 2014.

Shinji Kagawa

The Japanese midfielder made his name in the footballing world by featuring in big European teams like Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. He was a fan’s favorite figure during his two-year stint at Old Trafford. The Japanese International won a Premier League title and a Community Shield with The Red Devils, where he made 57 appearances in all competitions and was directly involved in 16 goals.

Kagawa had the best time of his career with The German club, Borussia Dortmund winning 2 Bundesliga titles and 2 DFB-Pokal titles. In 216 appearances, he scored 60 goals and assisted 55 times in 7 years long career in The German First Division.

For his National side, he has featured in 97 games with 31 goals to his name since his debut in May 2008. The 31-year-old currently plays in Spanish Division 2 League with Real Zaragoza.

Son Heung-min

The 28-year-old winger has been one of the most prominent players in the world and has also been one of the best Asian footballers ever. Although he hasn’t won any major silverware apart from a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, he has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers in today’s game.

After coming through FC Seoul Youth Academy, he spent most of his time in Germany playing for Hamburg Youth Academy and then made his presence felt after joining Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2013. The North Korean went on to score 29 goals and assisted 11 times in 87 appearances in all competitions for The Die Werkself.

After his switch to Tottenham Hotspur in The Premier League, he became a lethal force to reckon. Even fans and players of rival teams love Son’s style of play. His Premier League stats have been impressive, scoring 85 goals and assisting 47 times in 229 appearances for The Lilywhites. Son has also earned 89 caps for The North Korea Football Team and netted 26 goals.

Shinji Okazaki

One of the most exciting and unexpected events of this decade has been Leicester City winning The Premier League in the 2015-16 season. The Japanese has had a vital role in helping The Foxes win the Championship, helping them avoid relegation the following season and then win their maiden league title in their history.

The 34-year-old striker has represented his National Side 119 times and has netted 50 goals. The Asian Cup winner made 137 appearances for The Foxes and managed to score 19 goals and assisted 8 times. Okazaki spent 4 years in Germany, and after featuring in 128 matches, he netted 37 goals. Before making it in Europe, he played with Shimizu S-Pulse back in J1 League, where he went on to score 49 goals after featuring in 154 appearances in all competitions. The Japanese veteran is currently playing Spanish second-tier team SD Huesca.

Keisuke Honda

Keisuke Honda has been one of the most influential players for Japan in recent times. The one time Japanese player of the year mostly played for The Russian club CSKA Moscow and Italian giants AC Milan. He went on to play 128 matches for the former, scoring 28 goals and assisting 29 times and playing 92 times and netting 11 goals and assisting 16 times for the latter.

The 34-year-old has played 98 times for The Japanese National Football Team, scoring 37 goals. The attacking midfielder currently plays for Football Club Botafogo in Seria A (Brazillian Top Tier).

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