Zheng and Guangzhou claim AFC prizes
Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi has been named AFC Player of the Year and his side picked up the Club Team of the Year prize.
• Duerden: Asian glory for Lippi
The 33-year-old China international, who returned to his homeland in 2010 after spells with Charlton Athletic and Celtic in Britain, becomes the first Chinese player to take the award since Fan Zhiyi in 2001.
Zheng helped Marcello Lippi’s side to claim the AFC Champions League last month as they beat FC Seoul on away goals, and Guangzhou were also named the top club.
Guangzhou president Liu Yong Zhuo said on the official AFC website: “It’s not only great for us as Guangzhou Evergrande but it’s an honour for the whole of China. This award is not the end. We are determined to progress further in the future.”
Seoul’s Choi Yong-soo, meanwhile, took the Coach of the Year prize after coming agonisingly close to beating Guangzhou in the Champions League final.
“Actually I did not expect to win this award this time but it’s very good for me and Korean football that I won this one,” Choi said at the award ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
Inter Milan’s Yuto Nagatomo, meanwhile, was named the AFC Asian International Player of the Year as a result of his performances in Serie A and for Japan at the Confederations Cup.