Chinese Super League

Former Celtic and English Premier League star Zheng Zhi wins Asia’s best No 10 fan vote by landslide

Three quarters of voters pick Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder to mark a decade since AFC Champions League was revamped

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 August, 2018, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 August, 2018, 2:46pm

Veteran China captain Zheng Zhi has been voted as the greatest No 10 in the history of the AFC Champions League after a public vote.

The AFC marked 10 years since the tournament was revamped with a look back at the best number 10s to play in the continent’s top competition. They named five on their website and then asked the public to vote for their own greatest in an online poll.

The 37-year-old Chinese Super League star took 74 per cent of the vote, no doubt because the fan favourite was backed by Chinese voters after the story was publicised in the mainland media.

Fellow 37-year old Mohammed Al Shalhoub got 24 per cent of the vote while his new Al-Hilal teammate Omar Abdulrahman, former Beijing Guoan player Dejan Damjanovic and Japan’s Yosuke Kashiwagi all took one per cent each.

Zheng won the Champions League twice with Evergrande in 2013 and 2015, and was named in the team of the tournament in both years.

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He was also named Asia’s best footballer in 2013. The midfielder has won seven Chinese Super League titles in a row since he returned from Europe where he played with Celtic and Charlton Athletic.

In June this year he reached 100 caps for China, marked with victory over Thailand in a game where he was named skipper by Marcello Lippi.

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Zheng is still a key part of Fabio Cannavaro’s side and started their surprise 3-2 loss to Changchun Yatai in the CSL on Saturday night.

The result leaves the champions six points behind league leaders Beijing Guoan, with the CSL their only chance of silverware after being knocked out of the Champions League and Chinese FA Cup.