Former Japan star Shinji Ono has been included in a decorated ten-player list as the A-League bids to recognise its best-ever player in its 14-year-old existence.
The A-League – Australian’s football top flight – will enter its 15th year when the 2019/20 season gets underway on October 11.
To commemorate the milestone, the competition has recently looked to crown its greatest contributors thus far.
Fans have been given the opportunity to vote on categories such as “best-ever goal” and “best Grand Final Moment”, but it is perhaps the “best-ever player” that will be greeted with most intrigue.
There have been some fabulous players to grace the Hyundai @ALeague.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) September 7, 2019
And among the list of stellar players includes ex-Japan international Ono, who was a fan favourite at Western Sydney Wanderers from 2012 to 2014, which included a premiership triumph.
It is a sign of just how much of an impact he had that he is recognised in the list despite only spending two seasons in Australia and having arrived at the age of 33.
Ono is also widely regarded as one of the success stories of the A-League’s marquee player scheme, ahead of illustrious names such as Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey, Luis Garcia, William Gallas and Harry Kewell.
One of Asian football’s all-time greats? Well, Shinji Okazaki just called him “the best player in 🇯🇵”!
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) November 9, 2017
As things stand, however, it is another less-prominent but hugely-successful import that leads the voting in Thomas Broich, who played in the Bundesliga for Borussia Monchengladbach, Cologne and Nuremberg but then had seven successful years with Brisbane Roar.
Ono is also in the running to be recognised with the A-League’s best-ever goal for his sublime chip from the edge of the box against Brisbane, which secured the Wanderers’ place in the 2012/13 Grand Final.
We asked, you answered.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) September 5, 2019
Now 39, Ono is remarkably still playing professionally and recently left J1 League outfit Consadole Sapporo to join second-tier FC Ryukyu.