Zheng Zhi, Evergrande awarded the best by AFC
Updated: 2013-11-27 00:01
KUALA LUMPUR - China's captain Zheng Zhi was awarded AFC Player of the Year on Tuesday as the playmaker, also the skipper of the triple Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande which also won the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Club of the Year.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Player of the Year 2013 Zheng Zhi of China holds his trophy during the AFC Annual Awards 2013 in Kuala Lumpur November 26, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
Zheng inspired his club to its first AFC Champions League title on November 11.
Guangzhou Evergrande became the first Chinese team since 1990 to win the AFC Champions League. They drew 1-1 at home with FC Seoul in the second leg of the final on November 11, claiming the title on away goals after the first game in South Korea ended 2-2.
"Thanks to the players and coaches, thanks to AFC, thanks to Chinese Football Assiciation (CFA) for this award, I hope I can have a chance to give a long talk here in the award ceremony next year," said Liu Yongzhuo, Evergrande club chief.
The AFC Champions League victory makes Guangzhou's Italian coach Marcello Lippi the first coach to win the Champions Leagues of Asia and Europe, following his 1996 success with Juventus.
Guangzhou Evergrande, the biggest-spending club in China, promoted from League One to the Chinese Super League in the 2010 season, and swept the top flight titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The team boasts famous coach Lippi and the all-conquering trio up front in Asia, Muriqui and Elkeson from Brazil and Conca from Argentina. Muriqui has just been named the AFC foreign player of the year.
Furthermore, most of the team's Chinese starters are national team members, including skipper Zheng Zhi, who has just been awarded the AFC Player of the Year.
At the AFC annual awards ceremony, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) has been bestowed the inaugural AFC Inspiring Member Association of the Year award.