Ranking 20 best AFC players in Europe in 2015/16 season

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Throughout 2015-2016 season, Footballchannel Asia have been tracking 80 Asian football players playing in European continent. From Japan, South Korea and Australia, all the way to Iran, Iraq, and Uzbekistan, Asian players have moved to Europe to advance their football career at football hubs of Europe. Out of 80 Asian players, many play in 2nd division leagues of Europe, or European league such as Russia, Turkey, and Poland, which are not considered the elite European leagues.

At Football Channel Asia, we focused on performances of 40 Asian players who currently play at top European leagues of England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, and Netherlands. All ranked players must meet requirement of playing in top division of leagues above.

Tracking all 40 players from beginning of the season, from August 2015 to May 2016, the following are top 5 Asian players in elite football leagues based on performance and ratings. Players’ ranking includes considerations such as the number of goals scored, assists, their passing accuracy ratio % and their ratings*.

Sorted by highest Rating:

1. Hiroshi Kiyotake is the 26 year old Japanese native, playing for German Bundesliga’s Hannover 96. Kiyotake had the highest rating amongst other Asian players in elite European leagues, with a rating of 7.18 out of 10. He had a solid game with a goal in month of May, but actually that did not stop Hannover 96 from getting relegated to Bundesliga II next season.

2. Alireza Jahanbakhsh is Dutch team AZ Alkmaar’s Iranian striker. The 22 year old had an impressive debut season at AZ Alkmaar of Eredivise. He finished the season with a goal and an assist and helped AZ Alkmaar secure 4th spot for a Europa League playoff spot next season. His rating was 7.16 out of 10 for the whole season.

3. Brad Jones: The 34 year old Aussie native, is NEC’s goalkeeper in Dutch league. Having joined NEC in 2nd half of the season, he quickly secured his number one spot as their main goalkeeper, and received the rating of 7.06 out of 10 within few months. At the end of season, NEC finished in 10th spot in Eredivisie.

4. Mike Havenaar: The 29 year old striker plays for Ado Den Haag team in top Dutch team. In an incredible season, Havenaar scored 16 goals and provided 3 Assists and secured the rating of 6.97 out of 10. Although, in the end, the team could only secure a 10th spot in Eredivisie standing.

5. Shinji Kagawa: The 27 year old attacking midfielder quickly made his starting line-up upon his return to Borussia Dortmund. Throughout the season, he had 9 goals and 7 Assists, with rating of 6.96 out of 10 amongst his peers. Kagawa helped secure runners-up spot for Borussia Dortmund, and once again, a spot in UEFA Champions League next season.

Narrowing down by nationality, we could also point out the top rated Asian players in each country.

Amongst Japanese players playing in elite European leagues, the top 3 rated players are:
1. Hiroshi Kiyotake
2. Mike Havenaar
3. Shinji Kagawa

Amongst South Korea players in elite European leagues, the top 3 players are:
1. Park Joo-Hoo
2. Kim Jin-Su
3. Koo Ja-Cheol

Amongst Australian players, the top 3 players of elite European leagues are:
1. Brad Jones
2. Mathew Leckie
3. Matt Ryan

Amongst Middle-Eastern countries, only 2 players are playing in elite European leagues, of which the top rated players are:
1. Alireza Jahanbakhsh
2. Ali Adnan

Signing off on this season’s rating of Asian players, we hope to see more Asian players plying their trade in elite European leagues, and we will continue reporting on their performance next season with an updated list of players.

*Source of Ratings: whoscored.com

Full ranking:

1Hiroshi Kiyotake23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNMidfielderHannover 967.18Details
2Alireza JahanbakhshFlag_of_Iran.svg IRNMidfielderAZ Alkmaar7.16Details
3Brad Jones23px-Flag_of_Australia.svg AUSGoalkeeperNEC Nijmegen7.06Details
4Mike Havenaar23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNForwardADO Den Haag6.97Details
5Shinji Kagawa23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNMidfielderDortmund6.96
6Park Joo-HoFlag_of_South_Korea.svg KORDefenderDortmund6.95Details
7Kim Jin-SuFlag_of_South_Korea.svg KORDefenderHoffenheim6.94Details
8Mathew Leckie23px-Flag_of_Australia.svg AUSMidfielderIngolstadt6.93Details
9Koo Ja-CheolFlag_of_South_Korea.svg KORMidfielderAugsburg6.91Details
10Gotoku Sakai23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNDefenderHamburger SV6.90Details
11Yoshinori Muto23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNForwardMainz 056.87Details
12Genki Haraguchi23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNMidfielderHertha Berlin6.86Details
13Hong Jeong-HoFlag_of_South_Korea.svg KORDefenderAugsburg6.84Details
14Keisuke Honda23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNMidfielderAC Milan6.83Details
15Mat Ryan23px-Flag_of_Australia.svg AUSGoalkeeperValencia6.83Details
16Mile Jedinak23px-Flag_of_Australia.svg AUSMidfielderCrystal Palace6.79Details
17Brad Smith23px-Flag_of_Australia.svg AUSDefenderLiverpool6.78Details
18Hiroki Sakai23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNDefenderHannover 966.76Details
19Ki Sung-yuengFlag_of_South_Korea.svg KORMidfielderSwansea6.75Details
20Makoto Hasebe23px-Flag_of_Japan.svg JPNMidfielderFrankfurt6.72Details