FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan debates if Hanoi FC captain Nguyen Van Quyet should be regarded as one of Vietnam’s greatest-ever players.
The most iconic figure of Vietnam football of the past is Le Cong Vinh, while the future certainly looks to be centred around rising force Nguyen Quang Hai.
But where does present star Nguyen Van Quyet rank in all of this?
Hanoi FC’s Nguyen Van Quyet: One of Vietnam’s greatest-ever players
As the former golden boy of Vietnamese football who was viewed by many as a celebrity, Cong Vinh arguably surpassed predecessor Le Huynh Duc as his country’s most-famous footballing name.
And, while he has not exactly featured in the spotlight off the football field, Quang Hai’s astronomical rise in the past two years has already seen him being tipped as potentially Vietnam’s greatest of all time.
Van Quyet, on the other hand, has hardly enjoyed such adulation despite his talent being widely recognised.
Still only 28, the Hanoi attacker is already 7th on the list of Vietnam’s most-capped players and needs just 29 more to match record holder Cong Vinh.
51′ GOAL! 2-1 Hanoi FC (5-3 on aggregate)
— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) August 27, 2019
He has already won four V.League 1 titles and played a key role in Hanoi’s historic achievement in reaching the AFC Cup Inter-zone final, having netted three crucial goals in their 5-4 aggregate win over Altyn Asyr in the previous round.
On the international stage, he was part of the side that were crowned AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 champions which was followed by an impressive run to the quarter-finals of AFC Asian Cup 2019.
Nonetheless, perhaps why Van Quyet is not usually mentioned in the same breath as Cong Vinh and Quang Hai is the very reason he should be regarded as one of the Golden Dragons’ all-time greats.
Unlike Cong Vinh and Quang Hai, he did not have the luxury of being surrounded by a golden generation that coincided with Vietnam’s status as a major Southeast Asian superpower.
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From the time he won his first cap in 2011 to 2014, Van Quyet was part of a Vietnam side that failed to even make it out of the group stage at back-to-back Suzuki Cups.
There were still stars in those sides – Cong Vinh, Le Tan Tai and Pham Thanh Luong to name a handful – but it was nowhere near the current crop that have made waves since the start of 2018 under coach Park Hang-seo.
When Vietnamese football was in the doldrums, Van Quyet provided a rare shining light but, now that they have emerged, he seems more than happy to let others bask in the glory.
Yet, when his team – be it club or country – need him the most, he rarely disappoints and, with a few more years still left in his legs, should be looking forward to another Asian Cup appearance in 2023.
For all these reasons, the hope is that – when all is said and done – Van Quyet will go down as one of Vietnam’s greatest players of all time.