AFC Champions League: Top stars factsheet

Want to know who to look out for in this year’s AFC Champions League competition?

FOX Sports Asia presents: the AFC Champions League Top Stars Factsheet – an annotated rundown of the best players in this year’s competition, accompanied by tidbits you never knew and videos of them in action. Let’s do this.


Shin Hwa-Yong (GK), Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Shin made 260 appearances over 13 years for the Pohang Steelers before moving to Suwon in 2017.

Kim Yong Dae (GK), Ulsan Hyundai 

Formerly of FC Seoul fame, Kim was fondly nicknamed “Yong Der Sar” by his fans for his goalkeeping prowess.

Chung Woon (LB), Jeju United 

Chung played in Croatia from 2013 to 2016 before moving to the orange-clad Jeju United.

Ricardo Carvahlo (CB), Shanghai SIPG

Some familiar faces in that photo. The 38 year old former Chelsea and Real Madrid defender was the oldest player to compete at the 2016 Euros. 

Yasuhito Endō (CM), Gamba Osaka 

The Gamba Osaka veteran is also Japan’s most capped player, having made 152 appearances for his country.

Ramires (CM), Jiangsu Suning 

Ramires’ £25 million transfer fee was a Chinese Super League record in 2016, that was promptly broken twice in the next 10 days.

Kengo Nakamura (CM), Kawasaki Frontale 

The longtime Kawasaki Frontale midfielder has 56 goals in 392 appearances for the club.

Paulinho (CM), Guangzhou Evergrande 

Paulinho notched his first Guangzhou goal in striking fashion, with this stunning 35-yard free-kick in the 2015 AFC Champions League.

Alex Teixeira (CAM), Jiangsu Suning 

Teixeira (who moved to Jiangsu in a €50 million deal) is in fact the second person to break Ramires’ 2016 transfer record. Hulk and Oscar both exceeded that by the end of the year.

Oscar (CAM), Shanghai CIPG 

Is it payday yet? Oscar earns £400,000 a week. (That’s £57,143 a day.) (Or £2,381 an hour) (…Or £40 a minute.)

Omar Abdulrahman (CAM), Al-Ain

Al-Ain superstar Omar Abdulrahman was named the AFC Champion League’s most valuable player in 2016.

Tommy Oar (LW), Brisbane Roar 

Oar plied his trade in Europe for a few years, including 101 appearances for FC Utrecht, before returning to Australia.

Hulk (LW), Shanghai SIPG 

Real name? Givanildo Vieira de Sousa. Hulk got his nickname because of his resemblance to Lou Ferrigno, the actor who played the superhero in the 1970s TV show.

Wu Lei (RW), Shanghai SIPG 

Wu is the youngest person ever to have played in a professional Chinese football match, at just 14 years and 287 days old.

Gao Lin (ST), Guangzhou Evergrande 

Also known as “Gaolinsmann,” Gao is the reigning all-time top goalscorer for Guangzhou, with 88 goals so far for the club.

Nasser Al-Shamrani (CT), Al-Ain on loan from Al-Hilal

Nasser Al-Shamrani received top honours in 2014 when he was named Asian Footballer of the Year.

Teerasil Dangda (ST), Muangthong United 

Three-time AFF Suzuki Cup top scorer Teerasil was the first Thai footballer to play in the La Liga, when he joined Almeria on loan in 2014.

Elkeson (ST), Shanghai SIPG 

Elkeson is a two-time Chinese Super League Golden Boot winner (2013 and 2014).

Asamoah Gyan (ST), Al-Ahli Dubai on loan from Shanghai SIPG

Last but not least, Gyan is the top African goalscorer in the history of the World Cup, having scored 6 goals for Ghana (2006, 2010 and 2014).