Iranian Football Legends

Fans nationwide hold many memorablefootball moments close to their heart, such as Iran’s 1-1 draw against Scotlandin the 1978 World Cup. Of course, these moments wouldn’t have been possiblewithout the talent and skills of the finest footballs ever to step foot on the country’spitches. For this reason, we thought it was time to celebrate our Iranianfootball legends. Here’s a look back at the players who have made history.

Ali Daei

The clinically gifted Ali Daei isthe most capped football player in the country’s history, as he’s tallied up anincredible 149 appearances for the Iranian national team from 2000 to 2006. Ofcourse, he was more than another footballer on the pitch, as he led the way ascaptain and appeared in the 1998 and 2006 World Cups.

The striker’s undeniable skills ledto him playing at an international level, earning spots at Arminia Bielefeld,Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin. If the above isn’t enough, Ali Daei is a top scorerin international football, overtaking the legend that is Ferenc Puskas in 2003,and only Cristiano Ronaldo has managed to break his record. Unless you spend mostof your time with your head in a book or playing games at a swiss casino online, you’ll know heenjoyed success as a manager from 2006 until his retirement in 2019.

Mehdi Mahdavikia 

Mehdi Mahdavikia flew the flag forIran in the Bundesliga. The talented right winger and right back enjoyed 12consecutive seasons in the league playing for teams like Hamburger SV, Vfl Bochum,and Eintracht Frankfurt. Despite much success in the Bundesliga, he willforever be known across the country for his success in Iran. After all, heearned 111 international caps for the Iranian national team, coined “Team Melli,”and served as captain from 2006 to 2009. Mahdavikia scored a superb 13 timesfor Iran, which includes the goal that secured an unforgettable 2-1 win againstthe United States at the 1998 World Cup. After he hung up his boots in 2013, heset up the KIA Football Academy for abandoned or poor children and now servesas Hamburger SV’s youth coach.

Ali Karimi

Few Iranian footballers can compareto Ali Karimi for ball control, as he is arguably the most skilful player everproduced from Iran. With 127 international caps under his belt, he’s beenresponsible for many of the nation’s memorable football moments and played intwo World Cups during his professional career. When he wasn’t representing hiscountry, Karimi had much to celebrate in the Bundesliga, winning a league titleand cup double during his first season at Bayern Munich. What’s more, he helpedSchalke lift a German cup during his short-lived time at the club. Afterretiring in 2014, Karimi was appointed assistant coach for the Iranian nationalteam the same year before enjoying short stints as manager at Naft Tehran and Sepidrood.

Karim Bagheri

Unlike the above football legends,Karim Bagheri spent most of his professional career playing in Iran, spending50% of his time at Persepolis in the Persian Gulf Pro League. Between his twostints at the club, the defensive midfielder enjoyed football successworldwide, playing for Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga from 1997 to 2000.Also, he was the first Iranian football player to play in the Premier League,as he signed with Charlton Athletic in 2000 but was plagued with injuries,personal tragedies, and international call-ups, resulting in him playing for only15 minutes for the English team. Yet, he was undoubtedly capable of much more,as he could find the net with ease. For this reason, he earned 87 caps for Iranfrom 1993 to 2010, scoring a whopping 50 goals, including helping the team earna memorable comeback at the 1998 World Cup against Australia. After his retirementin 2010, he became an assistant coach for Persepolis and the Iran nationalteam.