Yasuhito Endō Wins Asian Player of the YearBy: The Offside | November 25th, 2009
Quick: name the last three Asian Player of the Year winners.
You can’t, can you? One maybe? I managed last year’s winner Djeparov, but my spelling was suspect and I only knew the name because of his ridiculous mullet-cum-bangs. The last three is merely an exercise in futility. And disinterest.
Endo is obviously not quite as much of an unknown as Djeparov, what with starring for the Japanese national team – the Japanese team which makes major tournaments – and all, but unless you follow Gamba Osaka, this is probably news to you.
The video above shows his one overwhelming skill beyond the box-to-box midfield qualities: a free kick genius. So he’s kind of the Japanese Shunsuke Nakamura.
But one of the best parts about this award is though the last six winners have come from Asian clubs, it’s not exclusive to those who ply their trade on the Asian continent – it encompasses all Asian footballers, playing in Europe and beyond. The AFC could’ve easily selected the player based on the name on the front of his jersey – Park Ji-Sung, for example – because playing for a big club means he must be the best. But they went the better route, and this gives it a greater sense of legitimacy.
So watch out for Endo and his ridiculous free kicks in South Africa.