Newly crowned AFC Player of the Year Nasser Al Shamrani says Al-Hilal were unlucky not to beat Western Sydney in the AFC Champions League final.
The Saudi Arabia international took out the confederation’s biggest individual accolade at an awards ceremony in Manila on Sunday, despite head-butting and spitting at Matthew Spiranovic at the end of the second leg in Riyadh last month.
Speaking after collecting the prize, the 31-year-old claimed it was no consolation for his team’s 1-0 aggregate defeat to the Hyundai A-League side.
“Winning this award does not lessen the sadness I feel after losing the final of the AFC Champions League as I wanted to claim both this and the AFC Champions League title for Al Hilal,” he said.
“We feel we played better than Western Sydney and were unlucky to not win the ACL.
“I am still very proud to win this trophy, I thank God for it, and thank everyone at Al-Hilal club.”
Al Shamrani was also tight-lipped when quizzed on a reported eight-match ban he is set to receive for his unseemly behaviour at the King Fahd International Stadium.
“I am proud of myself that I am the best player this year. If there’s anything else, please talk to (the) AFC,” he said.
“Let me enjoy my time by winning this award. Please concentrate that I am the winner of the (player of the) year (award).”
Top scorer in the 2013-14 Saudi Professional League and second in the ACL golden boot race, Al Shamrani now wants to top the goal tally at next month’s Asian Cup.
“These things make me want to achieve more and attempt to become a top scorer again in Australia. That is the peak level I would like to achieve. There is no limit.”