UAE's Ahmed Khalil, walks after receiving the player of the year award during the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) annual awards in New Delhi.
Dubai - UAE striker Ahmed Khalil became the first Emirati footballer to be crowned the Asian Footballer of the Year.
Al Ahli and UAE striker Ahmed Khalil became the first Emirati footballer to be crowned the Asian Footballer of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony in New Delhi on Sunday evening.
The 24-year-old fended off the challenges of his international team-mate, Al Ain playmaker Omar Abdulrahman, and Guangzhou Evergrande's Zheng Zhi - the 2013 recipient of the award - to be presented with the prestigious accolade by Asian Football Confederation president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
Zheng emerged as the runner-up, with Abdulrahman back in third.
In doing so, Khalil is only the third player in history to win both the senior and youth titles having picked up the latter seven years ago now. He duly follows in the illustrious footsteps of Iran's Mehdi Mahdavikia (1997 & 2003) and Shinji Ono (1998 & 2002), of Japan.
The powerful forward finished as the joint-second highest scorer as his six goals fired the Red Knights to their first-ever Asian Champions League (ACL) final, where they lost to Guangzhou and Zheng 1-0 on aggregate.