Two Team Melli players nominated for BFA 2018

TEHRAN, Dec. 18 (MNA) – Iranian football players Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Alireza Beiranvand are shortlisted for Best Footballer in Asia 2018, organized by Titan Sports and Fox Sports Asia.

Founded in 2013, BFA has become one of the most prestigious events of the Asian football. After a two-week nomination stage and discussion, the prize organizing committee has announced a 24-man nominee list in which the name of these two top Iranian players can be seen.

Alireza Beiranvand had an impressive performance in the 2018 Russia World Cup, the peak of which was saving Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty in the match against Portugal. He also proved his quality in AFC Champions League with Persepolis, reaching the final of the event while having the highest number of clean sheets compared to other goalkeepers.

The Iranian winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored 21 goals for AZ Alkmaar in 2017–18 Eredivisie, becoming the first Asian player to become top scorer in a major European league. Some believe that he didn’t fulfill expectations in 2018 Russia World Cup while others maintain that his performance was mainly affected by the defensive style of Team Melli in World Cup, especially in matches against Spain and Portugal. Jahanbakhsh is now playing for Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion.

Titan Sports applies the similar organizing structure and voting rules as France Football’s Ballon d’Or, thus it significantly differs with AFC Footballer of the Year award which is judged by its technical department.

“The juror panel is constituted by media representatives of nearly 40 AFC football associations and some Asian football experts of European football media outlets, bringing the total amount of jurors to 42 (2017 edition). The eligibility of the nominees for Best Footballer in Asia, is wider than AFC Player of the Year,” writes Fox News Asia, adding, “Apart from players having sparkled in the AFC leagues and competitions, like the current AFC Player of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan, there are Asian players playing in non-AFC league that have showcased Asian football excellence to global fans, as well as non-AFC players contributing their talents and philosophy to improving the Asian game.

Here is the list of nominees:

1. Akram Afif - Al Sadd (Qatar) - Qatar

2. Alireza Beiranvand - Persepolis (Iran) - Iran

3. Marcus Berg - Al Ain (United Arab Emirates) - Sweden

4. Baghdad Bounedjah - Al Sadd (Qatar) - Algeria

5. Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru (India) - India

6. Neil Etheridge - Cardiff City (Wales) - Philippines

7. Salman Al Faraj - Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) - Saudi Arabia

8. Makoto Hasebe - Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) - Japan

9. Abdelkarim Hassan - Al Sadd (Qatar) - Qatar

10. Hwang Ui-jo - Gamba Osaka (Japan) - Korea Republic

11. Takashi Inui - Eibar (Spain)/Real Betis (Spain) - Japan

12. Alireza Jahanbakhsh - AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)/ Brighton & Hove Albion (England) - Iran

13. Cho Hyun-woo - Daegu (Korea Republic) - Korea Republic

14. Valery Kichin - Yenisey (Russia) - Kyrgyzstan

15. Kwoun Sun-tae - Kashima Antlers (Japan) - Korea Republic

16. Aaron Mooy - Huddersfield Town (England) - Australia

17. Nguyen Quang Hai - Hà Nội  (Vietnam) - Vietnam

18. Yuya Osako - Koln (Germany)/ Werder Bremen (Germany) - Japan

19. Matthew Ryan - Brighton & Hove Albion (England) - Australia

19. Serginho - America Mineiro (Brazil)/Kashima Antlers (Japan) - Brazil

20. Gen Shoji - Kashima Antlers (Japan) - Japan

21. Son Heung-min - Tottenham Hotspur (England) - Korea Republic

22. Yuma Suzuki - Kashima Antlers (Japan) - Japan

23. Wu Lei - Shanghai SIPG (China) - China

South Korean winger Son Heung-min won the last year’s BFA award as well as those held in 2014 and 2015 while Japan’s Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki lifted the trophy in 2013 and 2016 respectively. Time will tell whether the monopoly of East Asian countries in BFA would end in its 6th edition or not.

The voting process is underway and it will go through December 20. The results will be announced in the final week of the year.

MAH/PR

News Code 140633

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