Iranian national football team goalie Alireza Beiranvand was picked by football fans as the best ever footballer from Asia that played in the FIFA World Cup.
Beiranvand received 66 percent of the votes cast, winning the accolade by a wide margin over Japanese star Keisuke Honda and three other nominees from Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Australia.
Honda, who is also the general manger of the Cambodian national team, placed second after receiving 24 percent of the votes cast.
The other three nominees are Aussie midfielder Tim Cahill, South Korean centre-back Park Ji-sung and Saudi Arabian forward Sami Al Jaber.
The poll was conducted by the Asian Football Confederation. A panel of experts plus fan voting determined the winner. Fans were allowed to vote online from April 1 to 15.
Despite playing in only one World Cup (2018), Beiranvand was credited for Iran’s successful campaign in Russia, where it almost advanced past the group stage. The Persepolis keeper became a sensation after a spectacular save on a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.
Afshin Ghotbi, the former coach of the Iran national team, said Beiranvand deserved the recognition.
“Beiranvand is the best goalkeeper in Asia. His presence, personality, shot-blocking quality, and his distribution range make him a complete goalkeeper,” Ghotbi was quoted as saying by the Tasnim New Agency.
Honda’s second place finish means that he is still held in high regard by football observers and fans alike.
Honda currently plays for the Brazilian club Botafogo FC. A penalty that he successfully converted for his team last month made him the latest player in the world to score on five continents (Asia, Europe, Oceania, North America and South America).
Honda played for the Blue Samurais, as the Japanese national team is called, in the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
Honda agreed to manage the Cambodian team in August 2018 while he was still with Melbourne Victory in Australia.
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