Thursday, 24 November 2011

Asian football player of year craves Europe move

(AFP) – KUALA LUMPUR — Uzbekistan's Server Djeparov admitted he still craved a move to Europe after becoming only the second two-time Asian footballer of the year.
The 29-year-old goal-scoring midfielder said it was his "dream" to switch to Europe's big-money leagues after a club career which has taken him from Uzbekistan to South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
"Every player is very individual and every player has his way, but it's still my dream to play for a strong European club," Djeparov said at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awards late on Wednesday.
Djeparov, who also won in 2008 and now matches Japanese great Hidetoshi Nakata's double triumph in 1997 and 1998, moved to Riyadh club Al Shabab in July after helping FC Seoul claim the South Korean double.
The player, who hails from a mountainous region near Tashkent, was also key to Uzbekistan's run to the Asian Cup semi-finals in January which was halted by a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Australia.
The baby-faced Uzbek's sole competitor on the night was Iran defender Hadi Aghily under a controversial rule, blamed for some unexpected results, which says only those who attend the awards ceremony can win.
Fellow nominees Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund, CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and South Korea's Koo Ja-Cheol and Yeom Ki-Hun were all tied up with club commitments and unable to travel.
"I believe every player has this dream to win this award and I believe this is not the end for me as there will be more in the future," said Djeparov.
"This second time round, I'm even happier than last time. I hope this award is good for my career now with Al Shabab."
"Football is the same everywhere, It depends on the player how to play from one country to another. Every player should play professionally every time, regardless in which country he plays," he added.
Japan also enjoyed a successful night as they took nine awards -- nearly half of those on offer -- on the back of their Asian Cup and women's World Cup wins at the sumptuous show in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

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