1. 손흥민 (대한민국/토트넘)
2. 하세베 마코토 (일본/프랑크푸르트)
3. 가가와 신지 (일본/사라고사)
4. 오카자키 신지 (일본/우에스카)
5. 나가토모 유토 (일본/갈라타사라이)
#1 Son Heung-min (Korea Republic)
Son Heung-min stands to be the odd one out on this list. The Tottenham star is the only one on here not from Japan. Furthermore, he is the only one to win the AFC International Footballer of the Year more than once and is the only one yet to win a domestic European title.
While the final point may prevent Son from taking the top spot in the list of most successful Asian footballers, he is arguably the best from his continent to have played in Europe in this decade, and the decades before.
The fast-paced winger has been one of the most consistent stars in Europe for the last eight years. He has scored ten or more goals for his club in seven of those eight years, across three clubs and seven competitions. He was duly awarded a Ballon d’Or nomination for his performances in 2019 and subsequently achieved the best-ever finish by an Asian footballer in the final standings. Add to that countless national and international awards, and his impact in Europe becomes clearer.
The Korea Republic star has come within touching distance of both the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League title in recent years, but his wait for a European trophy goes on.