Oladghobad, 27, bagged five goals – including a double against Thailand in the semifinals – to win the Most Valuable Player award in last year’s AFC Futsal Asian Cup in Kuwait, despite Iran being denied a record-extending 13th continental title after a final defeat against Japan.
Having joined Palma de Mallorca in August 2022, the Iranian also enjoyed a glittering debut campaign with the Spanish top-flight side as he notched up five assists to help his team lift the trophy at the UEFA Futsal Champions League.
“I am so happy that I attended the AFC Annual Awards. Today, I am the representative of the entire Iran national futsal team and I want to share this award with all of them. I want to thank all the people who have helped me reach this stage and I want to especially thank my parents and my wife for their support,” said Oladghobad after being awarded with the trophy on the stage by Mahdi Taj, the chairman of the Iranian Football Federation.
Oladghobad is the fifth Iranian to win the prestigious award since it was first introduced in 2006, following legendary Vahid Shamsaei – winner of the prize on three occasions – Mohammad Taheri, Mohammad Keshavarz, and record four-time winner Ali-Asghar Hassanzadeh.
Meanwhile, Iranian international striker Mahdi Taremi and young center-back Mohammad-Amin Hazbavi were also among the nominees at the ceremony, which took place after a two-year suspension due to coronavirus restrictions, but were left empty-handed in their respective categories.
Porto talisman Taremi lost out the Asian International Player of the Year award to South Korean defender Kim Min-jae – an integral part in Napoli’s title-winning campaign in the Italian Serie A before joining Bayern Munich in the summer – while Japanese Kuryu Matsuki came out on top against Hazbavi and Lee Seung-won of South Korea in the AFC Men’s Youth Player of the Year category.
The major prize of the evening, the AFC Player of the Year award, went to Saudi Arabia and Al Hilal midfielder Salem Al Dawsari.
Beating Australian Mathew Leckie and Qatar’s Almoez Ali to the top honor, the 32-year-old superstar played a pivotal role in Al Hilal’s 2021/22 Saudi Pro League and 2022/23 King’s Cup triumphs, while he registered four goals and three assists as the club finished runner-up in the AFC Champions League.
The midfielder’s double and an assist in the last-four 3-2 victory over Flamengo also helped Al Hilal become the first Saudi side to reach the final showdown of the FIFA Club World Cup, before a 5-3 loss to Real Madrid in February.
Al Dawsari also found the net twice in the World Cup in Qatar, including a sensational strike against eventual champion Argentina which saw the Asian side pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition.
Chelsea striker and Australia captain Sam Kerr, meanwhile, won a second AFC Women’s Player of the Year award after helping the Matildas reach the Women’s World Cup semifinals on home soil in August.
Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu, who led his country to the last 16 of the World Cup thanks to massive victories over Germany and Spain for a top-spot finish in the group, received the award for the Men’s Coach of the Year, with China head coach Shui Qingxia taking home the women’s prize.