Asian football legend Damjanovic says goodbye to the Champions League


Saitama (Japan) (AFP) – Asian Champions League legend Dejan Damjanovic said on Friday he “probably” played his last game in the competition at the age of 41 after scoring a all-time record 42 goals.

The Montenegrin forward, now with Hong Kong side Kitchee, is one of Asia’s greatest club footballers and has played in the Champions League for four different clubs in nine seasons over the past 13 years.

His involvement in this year’s edition ended goalless after a 4-0 loss to Thailand’s BG Pathum United in the round of 16 on Friday.

He said he was unlikely to play in the Asian Champions League next year, with competition due to start in the fall, after his contract with Kitchee expired in May.

“I won’t say 100% but I think this is my last ACL,” Damjanovic said after the match in the Japanese city of Saitama, where all the East Zone knockout matches are held.

“I always say probably, leaving a question mark – you never know what’s to come in the future.”

Damjanovic said he hoped a fairy tale “last dance” would end his Champions League career, with Kitchee becoming the first Hong Kong team to reach the knockout stage.

The demolition of four goals from BG Pathum paid for that, but Damjanovic’s 42 career goals in the competition means his legacy will continue for years to come.

– Man from Seoul –

The Montenegrin, who arrived in Asia with Al-Ahli from Saudi Arabia in 2006, said he was “sure” his record would be broken.

“A guy, maybe not now, maybe in five years, maybe in two, maybe in 10, a guy will come and enjoy Asia as much as I have and he will stay here for a long time and break this record” , did he declare.

“But now, for the next generation, it’s good. This will be the goal they must achieve.

Damjanovic is best known for his time in South Korea, where he helped FC Seoul finish second in the Champions League in 2013 during a five-year stint.

The striker has never managed to win the competition, but he believes it has grown in strength during his long and storied career in Asia.

“Before, it was a big difference between Korea, Japan and other countries. Now you see a team from Thailand, a team from Malaysia, a team from Hong Kong can compete,” he said. he declares.

“Everyone is improving and it shows that everyone is investing in football and they are very ambitious to do something in the ACL.”

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