Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki has capped off a season full of accolades by being named No.1 in FourFourTwo's Asia 50 list for 2016.
The 30-year-old also brought up a century of caps for Japan this year, with the Samurai Blue enjoying an undefeated second round of World Cup qualifying.
In an exclusive interview, Okazaki expressed his delight at being named Asia’s best player in an list compiled using FourFourTwo’s network of correspondents in Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
“I was very happy with the second place last year,” Okazaki said at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium. “So I’m pleased that people see me having good performances in Europe.
“It’s great for me to be in a good position for two years running, then becoming number one.”
Asked for the reasons behind the Foxes’ improbable season, Okazaki said: "I think it’s teamwork.
“Every single player knows what they’re supposed to do and everyone engages with each other, which leads to our good performances.”
Son and compatriot Ki Sung-Yueng of Swansea City round out this year’s top three on a list that features 12 Japanese players, nine South Koreans and eight Australians.
Gifted midfielder Omar Abdulrahman and prolific scorer Ahmed Khalil emphasised the growing stature of United Arab Emirates football by being named fourth and fifth respectively on this year's list.
In total, 12 different nations are represented in the top 50, with players hailing from 19 separate leagues around the world, including the A-League, the Dutch Eredivisie, the Chinese Super League and the Bundesliga.
SEE SHINJI'S REACTION TO BEING NAMED NO.1 BELOWcomments