By Niloufar Momeni
For the third year in a row, here at Football Tribe Asia, we will track 100 Asian football players playing on the European 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.
During the summer transfer through, 15 Asian players were either loaned out or were demoted to 2nd-tier European leagues, which are not tracked in our tracking system.
At the same time, 7 Asian players moved to top European leagues during the Summer transfer season, and ratings are not yet available for newly-arrived 3 Asian players in Europe. European leagues such as Poland, Greece, and Austria are not considered the elite European leagues.
At Football Tribe Asia, we focused on performances of 47 Asian players who currently play at top European leagues of England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Russia 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 44 players in November, 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 in percent and their ratings*.
Sorted by highest Rating:
*Source of Ratings: whoscored.com
5. Gotoku Sakai
Another first timer to the top performing players’ list, is Gotoku Sakai. The 26-year-old Japanese defender plays for German side Hamburger SV.
Gotoku played in 3 games in November and was impactful in keeping the defensive line tight and earn victories in all three games. With an impressive passing ratio of 75%, his rating stood at 7.30 out of 10.
4. Chang-Hoon Kwon
The 23-year-old South Korean midfielder made it to the top 5 Asian players’ list for the first time this season. Playing for the French side Dijon, he featured in 4 matches, where he scored three goals and provided 1 assist and earning “Man of the Match” honor for his important contribution against Troyes. With a passing ratio of 70%, his rating stood at 7.46 out of 10 in November.
3. Mathew Leckie
The 26-year-old Aussie midfielder is not a stranger to the top 5 list. For the 3rd time, Mathew Leckie is among top 5 Asian players. Featuring in two games for the German side, Hertha Berlin, he netted a goal against Athletic Bilbao in UEFA League competition, despite his team’s 3-2 defeat. With a passing ratio of 69%, his rating in November stood at 7.65 out of 10.
2. Saeed Ezatolahi
As the first timer in top five lists, the 21-year-old finally made his mark after series of strong performances in November. The Iranian defensive midfielder plays for Amkar Perm in the Russian league. Saeed had two appearances, one of which was against Dinamo Moscow where he scored the winning goal to earn “Man of the Match” honor. With a passing ratio of 64%, his rating stood at 7.99 out of 10 in November.
1. Alireza Jahanbakhsh
The 24-year old Iranian attacking midfielder had a strong kick-off in the new season so far. Having topped this list for the third consecutive month, in November as well he is leading the list with the highest rating.
Jahanbakhsh featured in three games in November, netting one goal and providing one assist for his side AZ Alkmaar in their hunt for the Dutch league title. He was also instrumental in his team’s 3-2 victory over Willem II. With a passing accuracy of 73%, his rating stood at outstanding 8.31 out of 10 in November.
Full ranking of top 10 Asian players in Europe in November 2017
- Alireza Jahanbaksh (AZ Alkmaar/Iran) 8.36
- Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar/Iran) 7.99
- Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin/Australia) 7.65
- Chang-Hoon Kwon (Dijon/South Korea) 7.46
- Gotoku Sakai (Hamburger SV/Japan) 7.30
- Kenneth Dougall (Sparta Rotterdam/Australia) 7.18
- Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur/South Korea) 7.15
- Hiroki Sakai (Marseille/Japan) 7.00
- Yuki Kobayashi (SC Heerenveen/Japan) 6.92
- Yoshinori Muto (Mainz 05/Japan) 6.79