UAE sharpshooter Ahmed Khalil stunned compatriot Omar Abdulrahman and China’s Zheng Zhi on Sunday as he was named AFC’s Asian player of the year at a glittering ceremony in India.
“My feeling is something I cannot explain…this award means a lot to me,” Khalil told reporters. “This achievement is not for Ahmed, it’s for all the people in the Emirates.”
“In the end there can only be one winner. Maybe this year I gave my 100 per cent in all matches. Honestly I did not expect to win this award – God has helped me win this award.”
Khalid’s award is richly deserved after his goals fired UAE to third place at the AFC Asian Cup in January and also took Al Ahli to the brink of the AFC Champions League title. He has also scored ten times in the UAE’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, raising hopes of a second appearance at the tournament after Italy 1990.
He said he would stay loyal to UAE outfit Al Ahli in the immediate future, despite a burning ambition to make the lucrative and prestigious move to Europe.
“Every player wants to play in Europe,” he said. “I have goals that I have set for the future. My ambition is to play with a European club (but) I have a contract with my club and I will continue to play for them.”