Omar Khrbin and Son Heung-Min win prizes at AFC awards
Al Hilal and Syria striker Omar Khrbin was named the AFC Player of the Year at the Asian Football Confederation's annual awards in Bangkok on Wednesday, with Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-Min scooping the international award.
Khrbin, who finished as top scorer in the 2017 AFC Champions League and whose goals took Syria to the verge of qualifying for their first-ever World Cup finals, claimed the title ahead of last year's winner, United Arab Emirates' Omar Abdulrahman, and China's Wu Lei.
The win ensured Khrbin's year ends on a high after the disappointment of losing out to Australia in a World Cup playoff in October, which was followed by a narrow loss in the final of the AFC Champions League to Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan at the weekend.
"I'm not too satisfied because I will always insist on bringing happiness to the people," Khrbin, 23, said.
"No matter how happy, I'm not satisfied if I don't see the smiles on the faces of others. My beliefs make me think about bringing happiness to others."
The women's award was won by Australia's Samantha Kerr. The Matildas' forward had missed at October's FIFA awards after being shortlisted as Holland's Lieke Martens pipped her to the top prize.
Presenting AFC Player of the Year 2017: Omar Khrbin pic.twitter.com/j9kcbUlZkz— AFC (@theafcdotcom) November 29, 2017
Rather than bask in the glory of claiming the individual award, men's winner Khrbin apologised to fans of both Al Hilal and Syria upon receiving his award from AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa.
"We play and fight to bring happiness to our people, this is our main target," he said later.
"We have determination when we play football, but this is stronger when we have people who are very hungry for happiness and joy.
"From here I would like to promise Syria fans we will bring happiness and joy for them at the Asian Cup finals next year because our people deserve to be happy.
"The people are not satisfied with individual awards, they want to win titles, to bring more titles and achievements for clubs and the national team.
"I'm playing in a big club, I'm satisfied there and I don't see myself in the foreseeable future moving to another club."
Son, meanwhile, claimed the International Player of the Year Award, which is presented to the best player from an AFC member nation not currently playing his club football on the continent.
The South Korea international was nominated for the award alongside Australia and Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy and Shinji Kagawa of Japan and Borussia Dortmund, with Son taking the award for the second time, having previously won it in 2015.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch