As a continent, Asia is not really known for its footballing superiority. Even so, countries like Japan and South Korea have produced certain players that have caught the eye of the footballing world. Even Australia, who are to be considered an Asian team due to their affiliation to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), has given us players like Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarzer who are legends of the game in their own right.
However, as teams, the nations under the AFC have not really threatened champion teams like Brazil, Germany, Spain, etc. South Korea has been, comparatively, the most successful nation making it to the semi-finals in 2002 and 2010.
Thus if the best players from the Asian continent were to form a team, it would definitely be formidable. If a Continent Cup tournament was started by FIFA wherein teams representing their continent would compete, the Asian continent would have a good opportunity to make a mark on the world footballing stage.
This list will consider any player whose nation is affiliated to the AFC, and who is currently playing in any league in the world. Moreover, this list will be based on the overall current ability of the player and not his current form or past achievements.
To be eligible for the list, the player must either have been capped by the nation in question or have been born there and not capped by any other national team.
The list also does not just intend to make up a team of XI individually best players but to analyze who would fit the best in the system and complement each other. The formation used is 4-3-3.
So let's get started.
Goalkeeper - Matthew Ryan (Australia)
Australia has been best known in footballing terms for producing good goalkeepers. Matt Ryan has 54 caps for his nation, keeping 16 clean sheets. This is impressive considering the fact that Australia is not really considered a footballing powerhouse. Although there are a few decent goalkeepers in Asia, Ryan is an obvious choice.
He joined Brighton and Hove Albion in 2017 and has been pretty dependable since. Ryan has a decent resume having played top-flight football for KRC Genk, Valencia CF and Club Brugge KV.
With 54 caps at the age of 26, he may well go past Mark Schwarzer's all-time Australian caps record of 109.