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Asian soccer

When it comes to football, fans prefer to awe at the best players in the world and it happened so that the best are playing in Europe and Southern America. However, there are interesting teams in the world that definitely deserve a spotlight!

Asian countries have never been strong in football. Despite their general weaknesses in this sport, fans in China, Southern Korea, Thailand, and many other Asian countries love football. The emergence of good teams capable of performing on the international arena was just a matter of time. Today, we want to talk about the best professional footballs teams that have already established their strength in the world or can be a legitimate threat in the upcoming years.

Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao. China

You cannot talk about football and its state in Asia without mentioning this amazing superstar club featuring solid veterans and outstanding domestic players. This is a club that has a solid financial infrastructure behind it and has been supporting the football scene since 1954. The team became professional fairly recently, in 1993. The club was purchased by the Evergrande Real Estate Group in 2010 and since then this team has been leading the region with five consecutive domestic champion titles, Chinese Cup and Super cup, and two AFC champion titles.

Ever since Evergrande Real Estate Group purchased the club, the team has reached multiple achievements that Asian teams had never had before. Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao has finished 4th twice in the FIFA Club World Cup. Chinese team was outclassed by Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but both games were fairly competitive.

As of right now, Luiz Filipe Scolari leads the team. This veteran coach won FIFA World Cup in 2002 and is notorious for his successful runs with Palmeiras and Portugal National Team. At the moment, Guangzhou has quite a couple of capable players that deserve some attention.
Zheng Zhi is one of the most famous Chinese players that started his career more than 15 years ago and played in Charlton Athletic and Celtic before returning to his home soil and joining Guangzhou Evergrande. He is the team’s current captain and a capable midfielder that manages the players during the game and makes calls. He is authoritative and helps to bound together domestic and foreign players.

Jackson Arley Martínez Valencia was recently picked up by Guangzhou Evergrande. This experienced player had some amazing showings earlier in his career and played solidly for Porto and Atletico Madrid before joining Evergrande this summer. £31 million for Martinez is a fair price and he has already proven his efficiency by scoring 3 goals in his 5 appearances. It is a sure thing that Jackson will boost Evergrande’s offensive capabilities.

Paulinho is a capable Brazilian player that is known for his conservative midfield playstyle and reliable technique. While his early career can hardly be called “flashy” he shined brightly during his time with Corinthians and Tottenham Hotspur. He joined Guangzhou Evergrande in 2015 and has already shown great results assisting more than 15 times and scoring 7 times during his 33 appearances.

Guangzhou is a team that definitely wants to be recognized by the international community and with its coaching staff and recent additions this is more than possible. Notice that Guangzhou Real Estate Group has a stake in AC Milan and aims at purchasing West Bromwich Albion. Such deals open up more opportunities for Chinese teams in terms of exchanging players and establishing international relationships.

Jiangsu Suning F.C. China

Chinese teams are ready to pay big bucks to potential stars that can join their Super League and recent pickups are showing this perfectly. Jackson Martinez for 31 million pounds is not the biggest deal that occurred during the offseason. Jiangsu decided to rack up their chances to win 2016/17 season by adding some heavy artillery to their arsenal.

Acquiring Alex Teixeira from Shakhtar Donetsk is a very nice pick up for this season. This is a blazing hot attacking midfielder heavily contributed to the victories made by Shakhtar lately. With his solid technique and great field awareness, Alex Teixeira is a sure answer to lots of issues that pursued Jiangsu during their recent seasons where they ended up being in the middle of the pack team. Alex Teixeira reportedly cost them €50 million and this deal can definitely have a huge impact.

Another great acquisition is Ramirez who joined Jiangsu after his 5 years with Chelsea. This midfielder is not the flashiest of all, but he is a reliable midfield player that can definitely bring some stability to the roster. At the same time, the competition in Chinese Super League is still far from being top tier and Ramirez has already scored 4 goals in his 16 appearances. This roster move has already proven to be worth of €35 million.

The leader of this team is Wu Xi and his leadership skills proved to be of use during his last two seasons with Jiangsu. While his team is far from being a world-class one, he manages to build teamwork and find a way to encourage his players to deliver great results. Jiangsu is a sure contender for top spots in both domestic league and AFC.

Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club. Saudi Arabia

While many specialists in the world predict that Chinese football clubs will soon enough threaten many top dogs in the world of football, some AFC teams have already proven that they should be considered as tough opponents. Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club is rated #1 team in IFFHS and holds rank #2 right behind Guangzhou Evergrande in AFC. This year will be more than interesting considering how impactful this team has been throughout years.

Their most recent acquisition is Leonardo 'Léo' Bonatini Lohner Maia. This young alumnae of Cruzeiro football school has been under the radar of many top teams for a while. Leo is notorious for his accented attacking skills and great technique. He is also very young and can definitely achieve great results with Al-Hilal FC.
Carlos Eduardo de Oliveira Alves is also a solid pick up that Al-Hilal made in summer 2015. His exceptional midfield expertise paired with sharp offensive skillset made him one of the greatest acquisitions Al-Hilal has ever made. He managed to score 13 times during his 15 appearances and most of his goals were impactful winning them Saudi Super Cup and a couple of important matches in AFC. This player is by no means a worthless acquisition.

Al-Hilal’s upcoming season looks promising. Their intention to get back their rank #1 in AFC rankings is more than solidified by the addition of Leonardo Bonatini whose attacking prowess will be supported by the aggressive playstyle of Carlos Eduardo. This duo is surely the one to watch in the 2016/17 season. If you like betting, make sure to follow Al-Hilal as there decent chances that they will make a good run this year and defeat some of the most stable teams in Asia with ease.

FC Seoul. Southern Korea

Korean football fans are passionate but do not represent the majority of the sport audience in this Asian country. The biggest sport here is undeniably Baseball. However, Korea’s recent success in the World Cup has fired up a blazing hot trend in this country. Today, FC Seoul is a team that hovers around TOP100 teams in the world and holds rank #4 in AFC. Do they have any chances to improve their position in 2016/17 season?

Their roster didn’t change much since last year. The management believes that this team can achieve greater results as it is and we tend to support this positions. While there is always room for improvement, FC Seoul managed to build a reliable team that can win games when it matters.
One of the biggest acquisitions made by FC Seoul is picking up a very authoritative goalkeeper Yoo Hyun whose solid skills and leadership abilities have proved to be of use in multiple Korean teams. He recently returned back from his military service and is more than ready to help Osmar Barba in leading FC Seoul to more victories.

Osmar Barba himself is a very capable midfielder whose primary position is that of center back. While his plays are not the flashiest, his defensive skillset is more than enough to bolster their midfield and allow Yoo Hyun to relax and manage his defense more reliably. This Spanish midfielder joined Seoul in 2014 and since then has been a fundamental part of the team.

Another FC Seoul’s recent pick up is Adriano. This forward has a rough career and has been frequently changing teams since his move to Dalian Shide, a team from Chinese Super League. Joining K League Classic has been accompanied by a huge success with Daejeon Citizen. Adriano managed to score 34 goals his 49 appearances. After his hot streak of resultative games, Adriano was picked up by FC Seoul and has proved his usefulness scoring 19 goals during his last 31 games.

These three players are more than capable of delivering great results and work together perfectly well. With some of them being contracted for at least 4 years, we can expect them to dedicate their skills to building some noticeable legacy with FC Seoul. It will be tough for the team to compete with Jiangsu, Guangzhou or Saudi Arabian teams, but there is a good chance that they will manage to move up in ranks in AFC during the 2016/17 season.

Kashiwa Reysol. Japan

This Japanese team has a truly rough history of defeats and victories. Over the last couple of years, they were relegated and made their epic comebacks with impressive seasonal runs. One of their most notable achievements was winning their domestic league two years after being relegated. This team has a will to win and it shows each time they face their opponents on the field. Do they have a chance to reach the new heights in the 2016/17 season?

Cristiano Da Silva is one the most notable purchases made by this club recently. He was a part of the team since 2015, but in the previous season he was loaned from Ventforet Kofu. The midfielder managed to score 14 goals during his 34 appearances and in 2016 Kashiwa Reysol decided to buy him out. Cristiano is one the most experienced midfielders in the whole league and he has already scored 11 goals in his recent 22 matches.

Diego Queiróz De Oliveira is a talented forward that has to get used to playing with Kashiwa Reysol. The team picked him up during the offseason and he didn’t really have a chance to shine in JLeague. However, his methodical playstyle and solid technique should increase offensive potential of the team and allow them to win a couple of trophies this year.

Hidekazu Otani is a very experienced midfield player that deserves some attention. He is fairly old for a football player turning 32 this year. His career is close to its logical conclusion. However, he has only recently achieved greatness with Kashiwa Reysol. His determination to win should be as high as never before. He is leading his team with a captain band on his sleeve and having Cristiano and Oliveira next to him on the field is a good assurance that he can for the team to make solid plays.
Kahiwa Reysol is a team that can generate upsets and reach top ranks in AFC. Their current position is #5 and they lag behind Chinese, Saudi Arabian, and Korean teams. However, their potential is much higher. It is more than possible that after acquiring Cristiano and Oliveira they will be a menacing threat for any top team in their region.

Asian teams in general

There are multiple great teams in this region. We suggest you to follow the Chinese scene closely as they are developing their football infrastructure rapidly and acquire the best players in the world offering grandiose contracts. It is quite possible that in a couple of years Guangzhou will be competing for the FIFA Club World Cup!