AFC Award Winners

China’s Zheng Zhi and his AFC Player of the Year trophy (Getty Images)

The Asian Football Confederation handed out its annual awards in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

In taking AFC Player of the Year, Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi became the first Chinese player since 2001 to win the award.

His club teammate Muriqui, a Brazilian, took the award for AFC Foreign Player of the Year.

He and Zheng helped Guangzhou Evergrande to the AFC Champions League title.

Inter Milan winger Yuto Nagamoto took AFC Asian International Player of the Year, and Asian football’s highest honour, the Diamond of Asia, went to Chung Mong-Joon, former president of the Korea Football Association and an honorary FIFA vice president.

FIFA President Slams European Media

Blatter delivers his address in Kuala Lumpur. (Getty Images)

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter criticised the European media for being too harsh on the Qatar amid ongoing concerns about workers’ rights.

Blatter made a speech at the Asian Football Confederation Awards, saying European reporters had been unfairly outspoken against the Gulf nation.

“It is not fair when the international media, and especially European media, are taking up the focus of an Arab country here in Asia, and attacking, criticising this country,” Blatter said in his speech.

The remarks come after numerous reports about Qatar’s poor treatment of migrant workers and the on-going Zahir Belounis saga. The French-Algerian player remains trapped in the country under the kefala sponsorship system, which prevents him from gaining an exit visa.

Blatter also recently made comments about France and Germany saying they voted for the Qatar to win World Cup hosting rights n December 2010 to suit their “economic interests.”

“We are defending it. We have taken the decision to play a World Cup in the Arab world and we have taken the decision to play in Qatar and we will go and play this… in 2022 in Qatar.”

By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin and Aaron Bauer

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