Malaysia football 2016: The 12 best foreign players
A total of 134 foreign players (including the mid-season contract terminations and new signings) graced the Malaysia League (Super League and Premier League) in the just-concluded season.
South America topped the list of foreign signings with 23 coming from Brazil, 11 from Argentina and two from Chile.
The season also saw 35 Asian-born players (excluding Australians), 26 Africans, 24 Europeans and two North Americans representing various clubs. Australia and New Zealand had a total of 11 players.
Most foreign players made a mark for their respective teams but those signed by Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) left a lasting impression.
We look at some of the best foreign players in the Malaysian League this year.
Pereyra Diaz (JDT)
Valued at €500,000, Diaz turned out to be the most prolific striker of the season with 32 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions.
He was the Golden Boot winner in the MSL with 18 goals and also topped the scorers’ chart in the FA Cup by netting eight times.
The Argentine joined JDT in 2014 but was loaned out to his former club, Independiente, for four months in the second half of the 2015 season.
There were doubts on whether Diaz would return to JDT in 2016 as the club had already signed striker Paulo Rangel.
But JDT coach Mario Gomez dropped the Brazilian and offered Diaz a second chance with the club, and it turned out to be the right decision.
Juan Lucero (JDT)
Valued at €2.04 million on transfermarkt.com, the 25-year-old had a slow start for JDT in the MSL. He only opened his accounts in the league in May with two goals in the 2-1 win over Perak.
But once Lucero had his scoring boots on, the forward was unstoppable as he ended the season as the second highest scorer in the MSL with 16 goals.
Regarded as the most feared striker in the MSL, Lucero completed the season with 26 goals in all competitions.
Lucero is not blessed with outstanding technical ability but his movement and knack of being at the right place at the right time made him a defender’s nightmare.