Kuala Lumpur, 10 August 2020 - After more than 250,000 votes, the fans’ Best XI from the 2018 AFC Champions League has been decided with the final line-up featuring a host of standout performers from the competition.
The 2018 AFC Champions League was filled with classic matches, nail-biting moments and fabulous individual performances and, after reviewing the competition’s key players, we present the ‘Dream Team’ as voted by you, the fans.
11 players who made the cut on the public polls on the-AFC.com, while an XI by OPTA, the official statistics provider for the AFC, is also included as a comparison.
Collecting a huge 89% of the votes, the popular Persepolis custodian and 2018 runner-up was out in front by some distance, with Kashima Antlers’ three-time AFC Champions League winner Kwoun Sun-tae (10%) coming second.
Esteghlal’s attacking full-back Khosro Heydari (92%) was way out in front ahead of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Lee Yong (4%), Kashima Antlers’ Koki Anzai (3%) and Guangzhou Evergrande’s Zhang Linpeng (2%).
Al Sadd’s centre-back Pedro Miguel clinched the fans’ vote for centre-back and he partners Persepolis’ defender Shojae Khalilzadeh in our rearguard.
Khalilzadeh edged out his club captain Jalal Hosseini, while Gen Shoji of Kashima Antlers, Tianjin’s Kwon Kyung-won and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ Choi Bo-kyung were also in the running.
Abdelkarim Hassan’s performances in Al Sadd’s 2018 campaign were so impressive that they helped him win the AFC Player of the Year award at the end of the campaign and the fans have reflected this too, naming the Qatari star as the left-back in our XI. His 45% share of the vote saw him hold off Kim Jin-su of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (26%), Shuto Yamamoto of Kashma Antlers (19%) and Guangzhou Evergrande’s Li Xuepeng (9%).
Siamak Nemati more than played his part in what was Persepolis’ best AFC Champions League performance to date and the fans have rewarded him with a whopping 68% of the votes.
Nemati takes the right side of our three-man midfield with countryman Farshid Esmaeili and Barcelona legend Xavi, who received the second and third most votes respectively, taking up the other two spots.
There were plenty of super strikers to choose from to lead our frontline but, ultimately, it was Persepolis targetman Ali Alipour who came out on top ahead of Mame Thiam of Persepolis’ fierce rivals Esteghlal.
Al Sadd’s Baghdad Bounedjah, who was the tournament’s top scorer, rounds out our three-man attack in this exciting-looking all-star team from the 16th edition of the AFC Champions League.