Tasnim – Mehdi Mahdavikia is among four Asian iconic players who traveled far and shone at prestigious leagues.
In the first of a new series, the-AFC.com has selected four players from the Continent who have departed their homeland and gone on to star overseas – winning titles, performing on the biggest stage and gaining millions of new fans along the way.
An Iranian icon who made more than 100 appearances for his country, Mahdavikia was a player who shone in the Bundesliga.
Mahdavikia first shot to stardom with Persepolis, where he won three league titles in the mid to late-90s, before he was lured to Germany by VfL Bochum.
While his first campaign ended in relegation from the Bundesliga, the versatile Tehran native had done enough to earn a move to Hamburg, and it was there where he made his name and ultimately developed into a club legend.
In eight seasons in northern Germany, Mahdavikia amassed over 200 appearances and was voted the fans’ Player of the Year in both 2003 and 2004, while the side achieved third-placed finishes in 2000 and 2006.
In the UEFA Champions League, Mahdavikia found the back of the net in a 4-4 draw against Italian giants Juventus and against then Spanish champions Deportivo La Coruna in the 1999-2000 campaign.
He went on to spend three seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt before eventually leaving the Bundesliga to return to Iran after well over a decade in Germany. In recent years Mahdavikia returned to work with Hamburg's youth sides.
South Korean Son Heung-min, Theerathon Bunmathan from Thailand and Japan’s Keisuke Honda are also on the list.
The favorite player will be decided by poll.