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Iranian futsal player Hassanzadeh picks AFC Player of the Year award

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian futsal player Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh Navlighi (R) receives the AFC Futsal Player of the Year award during a ceremony at the Aksra Theatre King Power in the Thai capital city of Bangkok on November 29, 2017.

Iranian futsal player Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh Navlighi has been awarded the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal Player of the Year title.

During a grand ceremony at the Aksra Theatre King Power in the Thai capital city of Bangkok on Wednesday, the 30-year-old Iranian sportsman, who currently plays for Sanaye Giti Pasand club in the Iranian Futsal Super League and the Iran national futsal team, stood ahead of compatriot Tohid Lotfi and Thailand’s forward Jirawat Sornwichian.

Hassanzadeh Navlighi, who had earlier received the award in 2014 and 2016, now joins the ranks of compatriot Vahid Shamsaei, who also won the accolade thrice in 2007, 2008 and 2015.

“I am glad to get this award three consecutive times and of course, I got this award on behalf of all Iranian futsal players and I'm happy to be here. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all managers, coaches and teammates in the club and national team, and offer special thanks to my parents and family for supporting me all the time,” he said.

Hassanzadeh Navlighi added, "I appreciate the support from my fans as I get energy from their support all the time. Last but not least, I would like to present my award to my countrymen who lost their friends, families and beloved ones in the recent tragic earthquake in Kermanshah and western parts of Iran."

According to the latest monthly classification published by the Asociación Mundial de Futsal (AMF), which is the governing body of futsal, the Iran men's national futsal team has preserved its position as Asia’s best and is in the fifth place of the world’s overall standings. Team Melli Futsal earned 1,611 points.

Kazakhstan maintained the 9th slot in the latest AMF rankings with 1,487 points. The Central Asians are followed by their Japanese and Thai counterparts, who have claimed the 15th and 17th places respectively with 1,355 and 1,310 points.

Brazil is the top-ranked futsal team in the world with 1,931 points. Spaniards notched up 1,878 points to sit in the second position, while third-placed Russians kept their position with 1,762 points. Argentina collected 1,683 points to stand fourth.

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