Southeast Asia's 25 Best Footballers - Right Now!
Written by James Dampney, Vijhay Vick and Matthew Mohan
25. Mile Jedinak
From the glitz and glamour of captaining Crystal Palace in the English Premier League and scoring goals like this against teams the calibre of Liverpool, Jedinak had endured a difficult period since his move to Aston Villa in August 2016.
But this list is about the best Southeast Asian players right now and using that criteria, the Aussie is a walk-up starter.
Having finally overcome a persistent groin complaint, which forced him to miss Australia’s Asian playoff victory over Syria, Jedinak was back for the Socceroos’ final World Cup test against Honduras.
And when it mattered most, the Australian skipper stepped up with a remarkable hat-trick to ensure his country’s green and gold colours would be seen on the game’s biggest stage for the fourth consecutive time. - JD
24. Luong Xuan Truong
Luong’s K-League adventure may not have attracted similar regional hype to Chanathip Songkrasin’s move to Japan, but this midfielder has bags of potential and could be among the players that lift the perennial underachiever tag the Golden Dragons have attracted in domestic competitions.
At 22, Luong is a regular member of the Vietnam senior team and was also part of the squad that qualified for the 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship.
He played in the 2017 SEA Games, where Vietnam started with all guns blazing before running out of steam and ultimately falling short of the semi-finals.
Luong is far from a regular at Gangwon FC but his year-long loan spell from Hoang Anh Gia Lai will be beneficial in the long-term. He also spent time on-loan with Incheon United in 2016. - VV
23. Samsul Arif
It is not easy walking away with plaudits when your club finishes just two spots above the relegation zone, but 32-year-old Samsul managed just that.
Samsul was the highest scoring local player in the top flight as he fired 17 goals to finish fourth in the golden boot race, helping Persela Lamongan keep themselves out of a relegation dogfight.
His performance in 2017 was probably a surprise to many after he endured a lacklustre 2016 with Persib Bandung.
He has yet to earn a return to the Garuda squad but if he continues his scoring form in 2018, coach Luis Milla may find it difficult to justify his exclusion. - VV
22. Nguyen Anh Duc
Nguyen boasts one of the most stellar scoring records in Southeast Asia, having netted 180 goals in 330 appearances for club side Binh Duong FC.
The top scorer in the V-League this season with 17 goals, Nguyen's feat was all the more impressive given that he was the first local-born top scorer in over 15 years.
Having turned 32 in October, he is showing no signs of slowing down.
Not only is he clinical in the box, he is also stellar in the air, posing a constant threat to opposition defences. - MM
21. Evan Dimas
Described as a 'wonderkid' and tipped for big things in Indonesia, the 22-year-old midfielder was a key player in Bhayangkara's charge to the Liga 1 title this year.
Evan is a type of player that pulls the strings from the middle of the park, enabling the likes of Ilham Armaiyn and Ilija Spasojevic to score 21 league goals between them in 2017.
Evan was approached by Thai club Chonburi for the 2018 campaign but rejected it for a move to Selangor, where fellow compatriots such as Bambang Pamungkas, Elie Aiboy and Andik Vermansyah have previously become fan favourites.
Evan could be the player Selangor needs to win more midfield battles and work their way back up the MSL table. - VV