For the second year in a row, here at Football Channel Asia, we will track 100 Asian football players playing in the Europe continent. From Japan, South Korea and North Korea and China, all the way to Iran, Jordan, and Uzbekistan, Asian players have moved to Europe to advance their football career at football hubs of Europe.
Out of 100 Asian players, many play in 2nd division leagues of Europe, or European leagues such as Poland, Greece and Austria – all of which are not considered the elite European leagues.
At Football Channel Asia, we focused on performances of 70 Asian players who currently play in the top European leagues in countries such as England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal as per UEFA Coefficient ranking of top leagues.
The criteria are to select players who play in the top division of leagues above.
Tracking all 70 players in the month of October 2016, here 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 Pass Accuracy Ratio % and their rating*.
Sorted by highest Rating:
1. Koo Ja-Cheol
The 27-year-old South Korean footballer is currently plying his trade for Bundesliga outfit Augsburg and has been instrumental in the team’s midfield. Featuring in 3 games in October, he also scored the team’s only goal against Bayern Munich. With an impressive pass accuracy rate of 79.8%, he had the highest rating among other Asian players in Europe in October – 7.45 out of 10.
2. Vitali Denisov
The 29-year-old Uzbekistan footballer is playing for Russian Premier League outfit Lokomotiv Moscow. Playing mainly as a defender, he was featured in all games for Lokomotiv in October and has earned Man of the Match award in two of those matches. With the rating of 7.42 out of 10, he is the runner-up among best performing Asian players of October.
3. Maya Yoshida
One of the more well-known Japanese players currently playing in England, the 28-year-old footballer once again is among the best performing Asian players in Europe. Yoshida played in two games for English club Southampton in October, including one Europa League match against Inter Milan. With an impressive passing accuracy rate of 88.7%, his rating was 7.35 out of 10 in the month of October.
4. Alireza Jahanbakhsh
Iranian striker Jahanbakhsh is currently playing for Dutch team AZ Alkmaar. Once again among the top 5 Asian players of the month, the 23-year-old striker was featured in three matches in October. In one of those matches, against ADO Den Haag, he provided one assist and was also named as the Man of the Match. With a passing accuracy rate of 68.2%, he had a rating of 7.28 out of 10 in the month of October.
5. Reza Ghoochannejhad
Reza Ghoochannejhad has reached impressive form in October, scoring two goals and assist one another in four appearances. The Iranian attacker helped SC Heerenveen to a string of unbeaten matches. His rating in October was 7.21 out of 10.
Top 10 best Asian players in October
1. Koo Ja-Cheol (FC Augsburg/South Korea) 7.45
2. Vitali Danisov (Lokomotiv Moscow/Uzbekistan) 7.42
3. Maya Yoshida (Southampton/Japan) 7.35
4. Alireza Jahanbaksh (AZ Alkmaar/Iran) 7.28
5. Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen/Iran) 7.21
6. Mike Havenaar (ADO Deen Haag/Japan) 7.08
7. Hiroki Sakai (Marseille/Japan) 7.07
8. Ji Dong-Won (FC Augsburg/South Korea) 7.07
9. Yuya Osako (Koln/Japan) 7.04
10. Kenneth Dougall (Sparta Rotterdam/Australia) 6.98