The opening day of the 1988 Asian Cup witnessed four goals, including two by the National Team against Syria, and two by the Iranian Team against Qatar.
Michel Platini of France, the then newly retired international player, came out with a good impression about competition in Asia.
The guest of honor in this Asian tournament praised the first Saudi goal against Syria, when the ball was more than a meter above the Syrian goalkeeper Ahmed Eid's crossbar, before it deceptively fell in his goal.
Addressing the media, Platini said that he saw one of the most beautiful goals, Brazil's Carlos Alberto Pereira warned its scorer, Saleh Al-Mutlaq, from leaving his location.
"You scored a nice goal, but I ask you not to move forward again", said the Brazilian coach supervising the National Team in that tournament to player Saleh Al-Mutlaq in the presence of the National Teams Director, Ali Dawood.
The green-shirted team entered the third match with intense pressure due to its lagging result of 0-1 against Bahrain, at which moment the 22-year-old player ignored his coach's instructions.
Saleh Al-Mutlaq left his location as a pivot, and kept on shooting in the same way as his last goal, until he started a tie from one of his rebounds from Majid Abdullah to Yousif Jazza.
On the eve of the Asian final against South Korea, Al-Mutlaq could not sleep at his usual time, and so he went out to eat fruit from a table for snacks in front of his room.
Al-Mutlaq was surprised at first glance that Captain Saleh Al-Naima was outside his room at a relatively late time, but moments later he learned a lesson he will never forget.
Al-Mutlaq said: "Naima embodies the true meaning of a captain. I saw him thinking very deeply and intensely about the final, and when he saw me, he turned to me and said: "We will win the cup", and then each one returned to his room.
A few minutes after the French Referee Michel Vautrot's whistle announcing the penalty shootout to determine the 1988 Asian champion, the National Team gathered around their Coach, Carlos Alberto.
The Coach started to announce the names of the penalty shooters "Majid Abdullah and Saleh Al-Naima ..." and then he stopped for a moment looking at the players' eyes before he continued with the selection and recorded the name of Saleh Al-Mutlaq with them.
The Brazilian coach was checking which players were psychologically prepared for the penalty kick by passing his gaze across the players. Al-Mutlaq nodded when Carlos Alberto's eyes fell upon him.
"I love watching you on the pitch and you've made me change my way of playing by depending on one pivot instead of two" said Carlos Alberto to his player Al-Mutalq after the team was crowned the Asian Champion.
"Saleh Al-Mutlaq is the first player for me" said Carlos Alberto to reporters at a press conference later in Riyadh.
That praise justified the Brazilian Coach's granting the captain badge to Al-Mutlaq at the age of 22 in the next Asian nations' event .. the friendly Australian Gold Cup.