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Former Charlton favourite is Asian Footballer of the Year

Thought some fellow Addicks might enjoy this recent article in the South China Morning Post. Can't help thinking we are missing a lucrative sponsorship/partnering opportunity with the Chinese here. If Mr Moneybags Slater could stump up for a pre-season friendly in Guangzhou it would probably generate at least a billion shirt sales. There is a picture and video clip in the link.

Zheng Zhi is first Chinese to win AFC Player of the Year award in decade
Captain of Guangzhou Evergrande and China national side caps stellar season as Super League club dominates awards

Zheng Zhi's stellar year continued on Tuesday night as the Guangzhou Evergrande and China captain was named Player of the Year for 2013 by the Asian Football Confederation in an evening dominated by the 33-year-old's Chinese Super League club.
The skipper, who was instrumental in Guangzhou's success in the AFC Champions League this season, became the first Chinese player to win the award in more than a decade. He beat Iranian World Cup star Javad Nekounam and Ha Dae-sung from South Korea for the crown.
Fan Zhiyi was the last player from China to be named the AFC Player of the Year, scooping the title in 2001 after helping the national team qualify for their debut - and so far only - appearance at the Fifa World Cup finals.
Zheng made a flying visit to attend the awards, arriving in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday morning and returning immediately to Guangzhou to ensure his availability for the second leg of the club's Chinese FA Cup semi-final meeting with Beijing Guoan as the Asian champions aim to complete a continental and domestic treble
"I'm so excited after winning this award," said Zheng, who previously played for Charlton Athletic and Celtic. "I came here last year when I was nominated, but didn't win, so I'm very grateful for everything I've achieved. It's a pretty special feeling to win this award, especially at my age. It's great recognition for my efforts.
"This season has been a fantastic season, not only for me but also for my teammates and for the club. We have won the league and the AFC Champions League and we are also fighting for the CFA Cup.
"This season has been perfect and we could not have wished for a better result.
"After coming back from Europe, I never thought I could win so many trophies, but this season has been fantastic. I'm not young, but I still have the desire to pursue more success, not only for my club but also for the national team."
Guangzhou's Brazilian striker Muriqui was named the AFC International Player of the Year after scoring 13 goals in 14 games in the AFC Champions League, a feat that had previously seen him named the Most Valuable Player of the continental championship this season.
"I'm very happy to win this award," said the Brazilian, who joined Guangzhou in 2010 and has had a key role in their success since, claiming three Chinese Super League titles and the AFC Champions League crown.
"I scored a goal in almost every game in the AFC Champions League and I had a great season. I've been in China for three-and-a-half years now and I have a contract for another two. I hope I can stay in China for a long time."
Guangzhou Evergrande took the AFC Club Team of the Year Award in recognition of their performance in the league, when the Marcello Lippi-coached side became the first Chinese club to win the continental title since Liaoning claimed the Asian Club Championship in 1990. And the Chinese Football Association won the AFC Fair Play Award.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Zheng is first Chinese to win Player of the Year in decade


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