They call him "the Arabian Messi" and his trademark hair has been copied by fans all over the region.

Abdulrahman's style of play has been compared to that of Lionel Messi

By John McAuley | BBC Asian football writer

He has almost a million Instagram followers, shared the front cover of a computer game with Neymar and once had a trial with Manchester City.

They call him "the Arabian Messi" and his trademark hair has been copied by fans all over the region.

Is Omar Abdulrahman the best footballer you've never heard of?

What's his story then?

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder plays his football for United Arab Emirates club side Al Ain and the Emirati national team.

This year, FourFourTwo Asia named him ahead of Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Leicester's Shinji Okazaki as Asia's best player.

He made the three-man shortlist for Asian Player of the Year for the past three seasons, winning in 2016. Last week he lost out to Syrian Omar Khribin for the 2017 award.

You may have spotted his silky skills and at the 2012 London Olympics,where Daniel Sturridge told him he was talented enough to play in Europe, Luis Suarez asked to swaps shirts and Ryan Giggs sought him out after their match against Great Britain to pass him his jersey.

And the combination of a YouTube library of skills and his David Luiz-style hair has turned him into a superstar in Asia, on and off the pitch.

Neymar, Zidane, Davids, Luiz and a viral Panenka

In the UAE he adorns billboards, advertising major brands and has a sponsorship deal with Nike.

Abdulrahman was on the front cover of the Middle East version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, alongside Neymar. As part of the video game's promotion, he recorded a video for YouTube performing tricks with the F2 Freestylers. It has close to five million views.

He also went viral last December when, playing as a guest for Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli against Barcelona in a friendly, in Qatar, he dinked a 'Panenka' penalty past Jordi Masip in the Barcelona goal. It mirrored his effort in a penalty shootout against Japan in the 2015 Asian Cup quarter-final.

Highlights of a 2015 five-a-side tournament in Dubai, where he played against Zinedine Zidane, Edgar Davids and Michel Salgado, have attracted 2.4m views on YouTube.

"I loved to watch Zinedine Zidane, he made football look so simple," Abdulrahman told FourFourTwo. "I wanted to try to copy what I saw from him on the pitch."  blue Button
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