Asia 50, 2018: A host of European-based superstars round out our Top 10
6. Omar Abdulrahman
No.1 on last year’s Asia 50, the man known as Amoory slipped to sixth 12 months later, perhaps due to the fact he is still yet to test himself abroad in club football as so many observers yearn to see from the ridiculously talented playmaker.
The United Arab Emirates also suffered through a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign, finishing fourth in their group behind Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia, while he also had some disciplinary issues during his time in the national team camp.
His club side Al-Ain slipped from second in 2016 to fourth last year, although they have made a very strong start to the 2017/18 campaign.
While Abdulrahman has been in and out of the squad, he has scored five goals from his 10 league appearances for an Al-Ain side currently atop the UAE Pro League standings. A long-awaited move overseas might be what Amoory needs to climb back up the Asia 50 standings once more. – James Dampney
5. Mat Ryan
Combining superb highs with some difficult low periods across his career, Ryan appears to have found his happy place once more with Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Premier League.
Having starred in Belgian football, the Australian shotstopper earned a move to Valencia in Spanish football back in 2015, but injuries and a drop in form forced him back to Belgium two years later.
It’s the move to Brighton, however, that has reignited his career. Firmly establishing himself ahead of experienced keeper Tim Krul at the Seagulls, the 26-year-old has started every Premier League match and kept eight clean sheets for an upstart Brighton outfit that is sitting in the lofty position of 13th at the time of writing after being promoted at the start of the season.
He will also be crucial between the posts for Australia at the upcoming World Cup. – James Dampney