Saudi Arabia’s Hamad Al Montashari was named Asia’s player of the year, although the award was devalued somewhat by the absence of some of the continent’s leading players.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) decreed that only players able to travel to the awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur could win Asia’s top honour.

This meant that many leading players were ineligible for the award.

Among those unable to travel were Manchester United midfielder Park, his South Korea team mate left back Lee Young-pyo of Tottenham Hotspur, Bolton Wanderers midfielder Nakata, and compatriots Shunsuke Nakamura of Celtic and last year’s winner Karimi of Bayern Munich.

Only Al Montashari and Dynamo Kiev’s Uzbekistan striker Maksim Shatskikh remained in the running for the award.

Al Montashari was a member of the Al Ittihad side that won the Asian Champions League title for the second year running and helped his country to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Germany.

Japan won the team of the year award ahead of fellow World Cup contenders South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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