| By Oliver Towfigh Nia |
IRNA -He is only 17 years old but he is already being chased by Germany's top professional clubs seeking his goal-scoring services.
His superb football skills not withstanding, Iranian-born Ardeshir Dejagha, caught the attention of the German media, after starring in a recent NIKE football commercial, displaying his superb razzle-dazzle tricks on German television alongside other football greats like AS Roma's Francesco Totti and Lazio's Gaizka Mendieta or Claudio Lopez.
"It was the best thing I have ever experienced so far. It was like a dream," Dejagha said, sitting next to his proud parents who emigrated from Iran to Germany in the mid-1980s.
"But my real dream is to play one day for the Iranian national team in front of 100,000 spectators at Tehran's Azadi Stadium. That would definitely top everything else," Dejagha added, having also received an invitation to try out for Germany's under-18 national team.
"If I have a choice to play for the German or Iranian national squad, I would most definitely choose Iran," Dejagah stressed who also could not hide his deep disappointment over Iran's recent failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
"Given Iran's football talents, it should have made it to the World Cup. It's really a shame."
The youngster who regularly visits his native country, is mesmerized by the football madness of Iranians and has also experienced it first hand at his own club Hertha Berlin where Iran's living football legend Ali Daei is playing.
"Right now I am still playing in Hertha Berlin's junior team but one day I hope to follow in the footsteps of Ali Daei," Dejagah said, refusing other lucrative offers from first divison teams like Werder Bremen and Schalke 04. "I have a two-year contract and I am striving for a spot in the 22-man professional squad," Dejagah said.
"I know it's very hard to make the first team but I will try my utmost to fulfill my dream of becoming a pro player," the Iranian football wonderkind added with a determined look in his eyes.
Dejagah started his football career as a an eight-year-old kid playing at Reinickendorfer Fuechse, a small club located in central Berlin.
At the age of 13-year-old, he received an offer to join Hertha Berlin's junior team (under-16 squad) and subsequently transferred to the club.
Dejagah did his share to help his team win the 1999 German junior championship, scoring the decisive goal in the semi-finals against Werder Bremen.
With regards to this season, Dejagah remained hopeful on also capturing the title this year.
"Currently we are ranked second in the standings, however, we still have a good chance of winning it all," he said.
As he is packing for the twice-a-day practice, Dejagah shows all his football awards and cups which are on display in his room.
Asked about his football future, he pauses for a while before saying, "I want to be the best in my position and I know I have a long road ahead but I know I can make it."
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