Bengaluru, December 16: India and Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri has been nominated for the 'Best Footballer in Asia 2018' award by the Titan Sports along with some of the top Asian footballers playing abroad.
The award has a similar structure and voting rules as the Ballon d’Or given by the French Football Association but is not authorised by AFC. For the 'Asian Footballer of the Year' award, AFC only considers Asians operating in Asia, but this award is meant for Asians plying their trade abroad while foreigners playing in Asian clubs are also eligible.
Chhetri just like the previous year has also received a place in their latest 24 man list which is decided by a juror panel, constituted by media representatives of nearly 40 AFC football associations and some Asian football experts of European football media outlets, bringing the total amount of jurors to 42.
Spurs' Son Heung-min has won the record number of times by winning it thrice since its introduction while Japanese forward Keisuke Honda and Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki obtained it once each.
Chhetri finished 25th last season in the list and other than him, only Lalrindika Ralte was nominated for the award in its inaugural 2013 edition where he ended in the bottom of the list, picking up only one point.
The Indian forward has had a wonderful year in 2018 where he netted 22 times in 33 appearances for Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup, Indian Super League, and Super Cup while he scored eight goals in the national jersey.
No Indians have ever won the award but getting recognition among elite players like last year's winner Son Heung-min along with Brighton's Australian keeper Matthew Ryan or Huddersfield's Aaron Mooy etc is all along a significant moment for him and also Indian football.