UAE's Ahmed Khalil bags Asian Footballer of the Year award

UAE's Ahmed Khalil bags Asian Footballer of the Year award
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Published November 30th, 2015 - 22:42 GMT via

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UAE sharpshooter Ahmed Khalil stunned compatriot Omar Abdulrahman and China's Zheng Zhi on Sunday as he was named Asian player of the year at a glittering ceremony in India.

The 24-year-old former youth player of the year could hardly believe his good fortune when his name emerged from the envelope at the Bollywood-themed show in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.

Much of the smart money had been on 2013 winner Zheng, after he led Guangzhou Evergrande to their second AFC Champions League title in three years against Khalil's Al Ahli last week.

But instead it was Khalil who accepted the trophy from Asian football boss and FIFA presidential hopeful Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa in front of hundreds of delegates.

"My feeling is something I cannot explain... this award means a lot to me. This achievement is not for Ahmed, it's for all the people in the Emirates," Khalil told reporters.

"In the end there can only be one winner. Maybe this year I gave my 100 percent in all matches. Honestly I did not expect to win this award -- God has helped me win this award," he added.

Khalil's award is richly deserved after his goals fired UAE to third place at the Asian Cup in January and also took Al Ahli to the brink of the AFC Champions League title.

He has also scored 10 times in the UAE's 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, raising hopes of a second appearance at the tournament after Italy 1990.

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