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Plaudits for Esteghlal, Persepolis, Tractor Sazi Players in Asia

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Financial Tribune - Three players of the Persian Gulf Pro League, the highest division of professional football in Iran, are named in the top 30 players list released last week by the Football Tribe, a Japan-based independent network dedicated to bringing fans the latest news, analysis, and commentary about football from across Asia.

The Iranian players are from popular football clubs of Iran, Esteghlal, Persepolis and Tractor Sazi.

According to, Nigerian forward of Persepolis Godwin Mensha sits on the 18th place of the ranking while Uzbek midfielder of Esteghlal Server Djeparov is in 20th place and Mehdi Kiani from Tractor Sazi is 29th.

Mensha moved to Persepolis in May 2017 from Peykan F.C. The African striker joined Iran’s Peykan as an unknown journeyman last season, but quickly turned heads with 15 goals in the league.

His superb performance resulted in a move to Persepolis, and after a stuttering start he found his place in the Tehran club and impressed with four goals in the AFC Champions League semifinals.

The former AFC Player of the Year, Djeparov came to Iran in January 2017 after being signed by Esteghlal, but was soon sent to Sepahan on loan, where he impressed the Isfahan team.

After summer, he did don the blue shirt of the Tehran club, made his way into the starting lineup after manager Alireza Mansourian was replaced by German head coach Winfried Schäfer and became the side’s pivotal midfielder.

Djeparov has scored three goals in the league this season and helped Esteghlal reach the Hazfi Cup semifinals. He has won the Asian Footballer of the Year award twice, in 2008 when he played for the Uzbek team FC Bunyodkor and in 2011 while playing in the South Korean team FC Seoul.

Kiani, 31, the experienced captain of Tractor Sazi Tabriz, was at his best in 2017.

He was a pivotal figure in the midfield for a Tractor Sazi that struggled without his leadership between the two transfer windows. He was arguably the second-best player in Iran’s Gulf Pro League in the first half of the 2017-18 season.

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