SEOUL: Mop-topped magician Omar Abdulrahman will be expected to cast a spell over the AFC Champions League final when Al Ain take on Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the first leg on Saturday.
The shaggy-haired playmaker, nicknamed “Amoory”, has been turning heads in recent years and he looks unlikely to shrink in the spotlight when he contests his first major final.
Manchester City, Arsenal and Barcelona have all been linked with moves for the silky-smooth Abdulrahman, although he has so far resisted a move from the UAE’s Arabian Gulf League.
He set last year’s Asian Cup alight, chipping a memorable Panenka penalty as UAE ousted holders Japan, but the final eluded him when the Emiratis lost to Australia in the semis.
Abdulrahman has again stood out in this year’s Champions League, where apart from his three goals and five assists, he has been man of the match in eight of his 12 appearances.
The home-and-away final looks tailor-made for the 25-year-old, who, according to the script, will lift the Asian club trophy in the return leg on November 26.
One week later, Abdulrahman, who heads a shortlist of three, is a shoo-in to be named Asian player of the year at an awards ceremony also held in Abu Dhabi.
But Abdulrahman, whose brothers Mohamed and Khaled also play for Al Ain, says personal honors will count for little if they cannot overcome a dangerous Jeonbuk side.