Djeparov named Asian Player of the Year

Uzbekistan playmaker Server Djeparov was named Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Player of the Year on Wednesday ahead of Iranian central defender Hadi Aghily.

It was the second time the silky passer with the mean shot had collected the prize following his 2008 success, although the credibility of the award has been questioned because of the AFC's strict rules that the winner must attend the ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

Highly-rated Japanese duo Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda had been on the six-man shortlist for the award after their strong displays helped the Blue Samurai lift a record fourth Asian Cup in January.

However, neither could make the awards gala because of Champions League commitments to their European clubs and both failed to make the final two-man shortlist.

The AFC had said they would consider changing the rule in future.

Djeparov, who plays for Saudi Arabia side Al Shabab, said he was proud to win the award for a second time and hoped it would help him achieve his goal to join Borussia Dortmund forward Kagawa and CSKA Moscow attacker Honda in playing in one of Europe's top leagues.

"Every player is very individual and every player has his way but it's still my dream to play for a strong European club," the 29-year-old told reporters.