Vietnam midfielder Hai remains in list of Asia's top footballers

By Nguyen Quy   January 4, 2020 | 11:24 am GMT+7
Vietnam midfielder Hai remains in list of Asia's top footballers
Nguyen Quang Hai (C) plays at the World Cup qualification match between Vietnam and Thailand in Hanoi, November 19, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Vietnamese star midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai has slipped two places from 2018 to 17th among 24 best Asian footballers of 2019.

With eight points, Hai still stood above some famous players like Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, who plays for Premier League club Brighton, Japanese left-back Yuto Nagatomo with Turkish club Galatasaray, Indian striker Sunil Chhetri and Brazilian-born Chinese professional footballer Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso.

South Korean star Son Heung-min, winger for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, claimed the 'Best Asian Footballer of 2019' title for the sixth year straight.

The Best Footballer in Asia is an annual association football award hosted by Fox Sports and China's Titan Sports, and judged by nearly 50 Asian sports journalists.

This was the second year in a row that Vietnam’s Hai was listed among the top 20 footballers in Asia. He is one of Southeast Asia’s two representatives in the list, along with Thai defender Theerathon Bunmathan, who ranks 12th.

Hai, 23, a key player for Hanoi FC and Vietnam's national team, rose to stardom as he helped Vietnam finish second at the AFC U23 Championship 2018, beating higher ranked teams on the way.

His goal at the 2018 final against Uzbekistan, a free kick under blizzard in China, was voted by fans the best in the tournament’s history.

The midfielder was part of the team that finished fourth at Asian Games and the national squad that won the 2018 AFF Cup, apart from reaching the Asian Cup 2019 quarterfinals for the first time. He was named AFF Cup’s best player and the Asian Cup’s best goal scorer.

Hai was the first Vietnamese player named among the 500 most important players in the world by World Soccer, an English football magazine.

He participated in all major football tournaments last year, including AFC Champions League's qualifiers, AFC Cup, V-League, World Cup 2022 qualifiers and SEA Games, playing a total 50 games.

Unlike the Asian Football Confederation's Asian Footballer of the Year, chosen by a technical department and match commissioners, the Best Asian Footballer award uses a similar process to France's Ballon d’Or, where media representatives cast the vote.

Each member of the panel casts votes for their top five players of the year among 24 nominees.

 
 
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