FC Seoul will go into their upcoming K-League and AFC Champions League campaigns buoyed by the signing of inspirational Uzbekistan midfielder Server Djeparov.
The recruitment of the 2008 AFC Player of the Year Server Djeparov is a massive boost for the reigning champions on a multiple levels. The Uzbekistan midfield maestro has long been one of the most influential players across the Asian continent, reiterated with a remarkable clean sweep of player of the match awards in each of his nation’s three group outings at last month’s AFC Asian Cup.
However it is Djeparov’s extraordinary resume that provide positive portents for a club seeking to claim back-to-back titles. Djeparov joined FC Seoul for the second half of last season on loan playing a key role in delivering the championship to the capital club for the first time under their current moniker. Incredibly for Djeparov it was tenth league title in as many years across three clubs, in a remarkable unbroken stint which has included championships at Uzbek giants Pakhtakor and Bunyodkor.
Now Djeparov is seeking to continue that run after signing for FC Seoul on a permanent deal, becoming the first Uzbek to do so in the K-League. The 28-year-old says the lure of claiming silverware in what he believes is the best league on the continent proved too strong.
“I think the K-League is the best league in Asia and that is why I came back,” said Djeparov. “Every player in FC Seoul welcomed me and I get along well with all my team-mates, especially Kim Dong-Jin, who can speak Russian. The fans are also very supportive.”
FC Seoul will commence their campaign to secure a maiden AFC Champions League crown on Tuesday when they visit United Arab Emirates club Al Ain, having also been drawn alongside Hangzhou Greentown of China and Japan’s Nagoya Grampus in Group F. “My main aim is to score as many goals as possible and win the K-League again this year. I also want to win the AFC Champions League and FA Cup.”