Goal.com's Asian Best XI for July: Ki, Abdulrahman & Haghighi get the nod

Goal.com's vast team of experts throughout Asia casts a studious eye over the best performers from the world's biggest continent this month
Goal.com has revamped the Asian Player and Team of the Month feature to give you, the reader, an opportunity to express your opinion. Thanks to our worldwide team, we were able to put together a squad of the best Asian footballers throughout July in a 4-3-3 formation.

However, to best determine who is the best was the best Asian player over the past four weeks, we are calling on you to join in the poll and vote.

Asian Best XI for July

Formation: 4-3-3

Goalkeeper - Kim Byung-Ji

Gyeongnam FC

The 42-year-old veteran keeper produced several fantastic performances in July, including a stellar effort against Suwon to help Gyeongnam grab a big 3-0 away win.
Kim kept Suwon at bay on numerous occasions despite their onslaught. The former South Korea international wound back the clock and also chalked up the 200th clean sheet of his career this season.


Right-back - Park Jin-Po

Seongnam Ilhwa

Seongnam's skipper produced a consistent month in both the K-League and Peace Cup. Park was a stable influence at the back as Seongnam went unbeaten in the league, including an assist against Chunnam, moving them to within reach the of top eight ahead of the season split. The 24-year-old also was a sound performer in the Peace Cup as they defeated Sunderland before losing the final 1-0 to Hamburg.

Centre-half - Tang Dechao

Guangzhou Evergrande

When coach Marcello Lippi arrived at Guangzhou, local defender Tang suddenly received more playing time than ever. The 25-year-old played just once in 2011 but has now taken over from Brazilian defender Paulao. Tang was a star against Shanghai Shenhua's glamour pair Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. Lippi hailed that performance as well as his recent improvement, pleasing Evergrande fans as he is the club's only local regular.

Centre-half - Maya Yoshida

Japan Olympic Team

The VVV regular tasted defeat as a member of Japan's squad at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but as the over-age captain of this year's Under-23 team has brought stability and maturity to the side. Against a shorthanded yet potent Spain and a more organised Morocco, Yoshida made several key defensive plays to help preserve Japan's 1-0 victories and help them reach the knockout stage, where they will fsvr Egypt.

Left-back - Yuhei Tokunaga

Japan Olympic Team & FC Tokyo

Like Yoshida, Tokunaga has also felt the pain of a disappointing Olympic campaign, as a member of the Athens 2004 squad. However, the 28-year-old's threatening runs down the left side and defensive skills, as well as good communication with goalkeeper and Tokyo team-mate Shuichi Gonda, have contributed to Japan's success in London; perhaps there's a medal in the offing to give the veteran his redemption.

Centre midfield - Reza Haghighi

Fajr Sepasi

The Iranian talent has enjoyed a bright start to the new season, showcasing his ability with a young Sepasi side. The 23-year-old, who was called up by Iran coach Carlos Queiroz six months ago to face Jordan, will be pushing Ando Teymourian and Javad Nekounam for a Team Melli jersey now, with his influence helping Sepasi sit top of the table. Haghighi, who has been compared to Gennaro Gattuso, also netted in the 3-2 win away to Persepolis.

Centre midfield - Ki Sung-Yueng

Korea Olympic Team

The 23-year-old midfielder was at another level in his side's opening Olympic match, a 0-0 draw agianst Mexico. Ki kept and passed the ball well and also went forward to try to score. Naturally, the Celtic man also did his defensive duties well, with some onlookers of his Under-23 performances comparing him to Yaya Toure. His influence has helped Korea reach the last eight where they'll face Team GB in a huge clash.

Attacking midfield - Omar Abdulrahman

UAE Olympic Team

The 20-year-old Al Ain man has been one of the talking points of the Olympics, with his quality winning praise from journalists and players such as Micah Richards. Abdulrahman was great against Uruguay in his country's opening match, while he set up UAE's goal in the hard-fought 3-1 loss to hosts Team GB. Abdulrahman's side may have bowed out, but there's now talk of a move to Europe for him.

Striker - Kensuke Nagai

Japan Olympic Team/Nagoya Grampus

Nagai's play at the London Olympics shocked Spain while he netted the winner against Morocco. The 23-year-old terrorised the Spanish defence with his incessant chasing and won the ball on many occasions. Spain coach Luis Milla identified Nagai's speed as "amazing" and the Nagoya man reportedly caught the eye of several scouts who were in attendance to watch Spain. His J-League form with Grampus has also been steady.

Striker - Hisato Sato

Sanfrecce Hiroshima

The veteran netted three goals this month, including a double against Kashima Antlers, to inspire Sanfrecce into top spot in the J-League. His exploits also landed him Goal.com's Player of the Week award during July. Sato's prolific form has him leading the Golden Boot race too with 15 strikes, five ahead of the next on the list, Masato Kudo. Sato isn't a tall player, but has an eye for goal in the box and is always a handful for defenders.

Striker - Napat Thamrongsuphakorn

Samut Songkhram

Napat may have only struck one goal throughout July for the Raging Mackerel, but his overall performances have been impressive, to the extent that there is now a battle among Thailand's big four (Buriram, Chonburi, Muang Thong and BEC Tero) for the young talent's services, which shows how highly rated he is in his homeland. Chonburi will be particularly keen on Napat, after seeing him inspired his struggling side to two shock victories over the Sharks this month.

Manager - Takashi Sekizuka

Japan Olympic Team

Expectations for the Japan Under-23 men going into the Olympics were about as low as they could get, but Sekizuka silenced the critics with two thrilling wins to send the Samurai Blue into their first knockout stage in 12 years. The coach was able to capture top spot in Group D against Honduras, allowing Japan avoid Brazil in the quarter-finals and further boosting their medal hopes.


Goalkeeper Defender

Shuichi Gonda
(Japan Olympic/Tokyo)

Aidil Zafuan
(Malaysia XI)

Kim Dae-Ho
(Pohang Steelers)

Wang Yongpo
(Shandong Luneng)
Midfielder Midfielder Striker

Song Jin-Hyung
(Jeju United)

Koo Ja-Cheol
(Korea Olympic Team)

Masato Kudo
(Kashiwa Reysol)

The Goal.com team have had their say, and now it's your chance to vote for who you think should be the Asian Player of the Month!

Do you agree with our Best XI picks? Would you rather swap a player from the bench?
Let us know in our comments!

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