|Endo enjoys the spotlight [AFP]
Yasuhito Endo was named as Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Player of the Year at the annual awards in Kuala Lumpur.
The 29-year-old Japan midfielder and Gamba Osaka player beat off competition from Japan's Kengo Nakaumra, Syria striker Firas Al Khatib, Bahrain's Sayed Mohamed Adnan and Iranian Hadi Aghily to win the award for the first time.
Endo received the most points from MVP awards during the 2009 season which included AFC Champions League matches, AFC Asian Cup matches, Fifa World Cup qualifiers and other AFC tournaments.
"I would like to thank the AFC for this Award," said Endo, who was nominated last year but lost out to Uzbekistan’s Server Djeparov.
"This is a big honour for me.
"I was here last year but unfortunately, I wasn't able to win. However, I am very happy to win this year.
"I hope I can be a role model for young players everywhere and give hope to others in Asian football."
Endo participated in three AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifiers this year as well as six AFC Champions League matches. He also played in three Fifa World Cup qualifiers for Japan.
South Korea's Pohang Steelers added to their Asian Champions League title by winning the AFC Club of the Year award.
The Steelers beat Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad 2-1 in the final in Toyko on November 7 to become champions of Asia and qualify for the Club World Cup in December.