Asia 50, Part III: A host of European-based superstars and a brand new No.1
No.10 Ki Sung-Yeung
It is impressive and often overlooked that this classy midfielder is approaching the eight-year mark in Europe. Not many Asian players stay out west for so long.
Even better is the fact that he rarely misses a game for his country. The 28-year-old is close to joining the century club on the international stage and that is some serious miles, travelling from South Wales to East Asia and plenty of places in between.
Injuries and issues at Swansea have meant that this English Premier League season has not been his best at the Liberty Stadium and a relegation battle wasn't the ideal stage for a cultured talent like Ki.
He is however close to leading the Taeguk Warriors to a ninth successive World Cup appearance.
A third personal bow on the global stage while still short of his thirties would be another fine achievement in an already fine career. – John Duerden
No.9 Wu Lei
It is now the stuff of legend that Wu Lei was a child prodigy, making his professional debut in the lower divisions of Chinese football before his 15th birthday.
Former China national team coach Xu Genbao also famously once labelled him "China’s Maradona", a daunting prospect for any young player.
But the Shanghai SIPG standout has lived up to the hype. Now 25 years old, he is already his club’s all-time leading scorer and a mainstay in the national set-up.
“I think I am player who uses his head,” he has said in the past. ”I not only have hunger but also a good nose for goal, so I can usually find chances to score.
“I like looking for opportunities in front of goal and beating defenders with agility and pace.”
He has continued to excel this season under new SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas, plundering five goals already for a Shanghai outfit that is contending for the league title.
As seen in the video below, he also scored a superb goal in the Asian Champions League against Western Sydney Wanderers on May 10 after just 21 seconds - the third fastest goal in the competition’s history. – Tio Utomo