7. Omar Al-Somah (Last Year: 11)
Al-Ahli (KSA) / Syria / Striker
Words by Hamoudi Fayad
What else is there to say about the man often likened by his admirers to “the Arabian Zlatan Ibrahimovic”? The only issue really stunting his rise as one of the best Asian footballers around is the fact that he is not a regular – well, not at all a member – of his national team’s squad.
That isn’t because he’s not good enough to make it, but differences in political views with the Bashar Al-Assad-led Syrian national team is what led Omar Al-Somah to stop playing with them; and with his current club based in Saudi Arabia, chances are that nothing is going to progress on that point anytime soon. In fact, Saudi Arabia themselves are looking to bring Al-Somah into the national team seeing as that he only represented the Syrian team in the WAFF Championship (a non-FIFA related tournament) and friendlies.
Moving on, let’s talk about the records this man has broken. Reportedly the first and fastest player to achieve the following record; on August 15th, Omar Al-Somah managed to score his 50th league goal in his 45th league game. Until now, there hasn’t been any official confirmation that a player has previously beaten this record in that game period, so Al-Somah stands tall against some of the biggest names in world football and their attempts to break this record. Moreover, Al-Somah is the best foreign goalscorer in the history of the Saudi League, with 65 goals to his name, and he can also be considered the master of hat-tricks, registering the highest number of them as a foreigner (7).
Omar Al-Somah was also the top scorer, by eight goals actually, in the Saudi League, when he finally helped his Al-Ahli side break their years of “fasting” from the Pro League trophy to win it against direct rivals and Asian giants Al-Hilal.
His goals were not typical target-man goals which may come from his height; Al-Somah is a well-rounded player for someone of his physical stature. His free-kick ability is only matched by a few in the region, with his powerful but also shrewd style allowing him to rack up goals from behind the wall. His penalty taking abilities are also fine, but it’s his technique that is underrated, allowing him to operate under the different philosophies of Christian Gross and Jose Manuel Gomes during his time at Al-Ahli.
Highlight of the Year – Breaking the record for fastest league goals
What Omar Al-Somah did with the league goal record is unprecedented in world football and even more so in Saudi football. After doubts by many of his rivals that he wouldn’t be able to keep up the great season he produced when he first arrived in Jeddah, Al-Somah went on to finish as top scorer in the league for the second time in a row and started his third season at the club with the breaking of the record.