15 Best Iranian Football Players of All Time

Who is the greatest Iranian footballer ever?

Iran possesses one of the strongest football teams in Asia. The country has several times participated in the World Cup tournament, won the Asian Games three times, and claimed three Asian Cup trophies. Not only that, Iran has given birth to some of the best Asian footballers who shine in the European Leagues, such as Ali Daei, Ali Karimi and Javad Nekounam.

Who is the greatest Iranian footballer of all time? This is the topic that will be discussed in detail in this article. Here, I presented brief profiles of 15 Iranian soccer players who have won numerous prestigious achievements. Among all names in this list, which one of them is your favorite player?

15. Ashkan Dejagah

Ashkan Dejagah Iran is an Iranian player with the most consistent performances in the European League. The player started his career as a professional footballer in German League in 2004 with Hertha BSC II. His career became brighter when he moved to Wolfsburg in 2007, and then helped the club win the Bundesliga in the 2008-09 season. Before playing for the Iranian national team in 2012, Dejagah joined Germany U-21 national team and played for the team in various international matches.

14. Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh

Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh is one of the best goalkeepers ever to play for the national team of Iran. His prowess can only be rivaled by the legendary goalkeeper, Naser Hejazi. Abedzadeh represented his country for 11 years, from 1987 to 1998. He was the main goalkeeper of Iran national team in the 1998 World Cup and his performances in the tournament were greatly praised by the media. At club level, he won five Iranian League titles with Persepolis FC.

13. Vahid Hashemian

Playing as a striker Vahid Hashemian spent most of his professional career in the German League. He also won a Bundesliga title when he joined Bayern Munich in the 2004-05 season, although he was more often used as a reserve player. His career with the national team of Iran was also good, where Hashemian won the Asian Games title in 1998 as well as being appointed as the main striker of his country in the 2006 World Cup.

12. Khodadad Azizi

The best individual achievement of Khodadad Azizi is when he was selected as the best Asian Footballer of 1996, following his success in helping Iran rank third in the Asian Cup tournament. His triumphant performances made FC Koln sign him in 1997. During his three seasons at the club, Azizi scored 10 goals in 50 appearances. He retired from the Iranian national team in 2006, netting a total of 11 goals in 47 appearances.

11. Farhad Majidi

Farhad Majidi is known as one of the best attacking midfielders ever to play for the national football team of Iran. His career went well in Iran and the United Arab Emirates, where Farhad three times won the Iranian League (with Esteghlal FC) and claimed one Asian Champions League trophy (with Al-Ain). He achieved his best individual achievement in 2010, where he became the runner-up of Asian Footballer of the Year award.

10. Gholam Hossein Mazloumi

Mazloumi is a former striker who played in the period 1965-1978. His scoring record for the national team of Iran is quite impressive, where he netted 37gol in 48 matches. Throughout his career, Mazloumi presented three prestigious title for his country: two Asian Cup trophies and a gold medal in Asian Games. Mazloumi also became the top scorer of Iranian League in two consecutive seasons, in 1974 and 1975, when he played for Shahbaz.

9. Hossein Kaebi

Playing as a right-back, Hossein Kaebi had the opportunity to play in the English League at Leicester City. He was known as a defender with a consistent performances who became a core player of Iranian national team for nine years, from 2002 to 2011. Not only strong in defense, Kaebi also quite often went forward to help the team's attack. His best performance occurred at the 2006 World Cup in a match against Portugal, where Kaebi successfully stopped two best wingers in the world, Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

8. Farshad Pious

Farshad Pious is the all-time top scorer of Persepolis FC, one of the biggest clubs in Iranian League. During his period at the club for 11 years, he scored 153 goals in 211 appearances. Not only that, Pious also seven times became the top scorer of Iranian League. He played a year in Qatar League and also managed to be the top scorer in the tournament. Throughout his career for Iran national team in the period 1984-1994, Pious netted 19 goals in 35 games.

7. Javad Nekounam

Playing as a central midfielder, Nekounam can be recognized as the best Iranian player ever to play in the Spanish league. He joined Osasuna from 2006 to 2012, appearing in 149 games and scored 24 goals. During his career at Osasuna, Nekounam was also selected as the Player and Midfielder of the Year by Iran Football News & Events. He was appointed to be the captain of Iran national team since 2009, replacing Mehdi Mahdavikia.

6. Naser Hejazi

Hejazi is often recognized by many football pundits as the best Asian goalkeeper of all time. He represented his country from 1968 to 1980, winning two Asian Cup trophy and an Asian Games gold medal. Due to his great charisma and brilliant performances, Hejazi was dubbed as "the legendary Goalkeeper" by supporters of Iran national team. After his retirement, he worked as a coach and was almost nominated as one of the Iranian presidential candidate in 2005 elections.

5. Karim Bagheri

Throughout his career, Karim Bagheri was famous as a player with incredible long-range shot. He often scored great goals from free-kicks or cannonball from outside the penalty box. In addition to his career glorious career at Persepolis, Bagheri also briefly played in the Europa League with Arminia Bielefeld and Charlton Athletic. He represented his country in 87 international matches and scored 50 goals.

4. Ali Parvin

There's no way to discuss about the world of Iranian football without mentioning the name of Ali Parvin. He is a legendary midfielder of Iran who played from 1965 to 1988, dubbed as "Soltan" (the king) because of his great skills as a footballer. Throughout his career, Parvin helped his country win two Asian Cups, an Asian Games trophy, and led Iran play in the 1978 World Cup. Upon his retirement, Parvin works as a coach and until today he is regarded as one of the most successful coaches in Iran.

3. Ali Karimi

Fast, agile, and extremely talented. Ali Karimi is an attacking midfielder who possesses incredible football techniques. Due to his great abilities, he is nicknamed as "the Maradona of Asia." Not only possessing outstanding dribbling and passing skills, Karimi is also prolific in scoring goals. His best career occurred in 2004, when he was awarded the title of the Asian Footballer of the Year. During 15 years playing for the national team of Iran, Karimi scored 38 goals in 127 appearances.

2. Mehdi Mahdavikia

Mehdi Mahdavikia is regarded as one of the best defenders in Asia. He was not only great in defending, but also outstanding in attacking; so that Mahdavikia was often played as a winger. He was also trusted to be the captain of Iran national team from 2006 to 2009, replacing Ali Daei, the legendary striker. Not only that, he underwent quite a brilliant career in Germany with Hamburger SV, where he won a DFB-Ligapokal trophy and an Intertoto Cup. Mahdavikia was elected as the Asian Footballer of the Year in 2003 and was named the best Bundesliga defender of the 2002-03 season by Kicker magazine.

1. Ali Daei

It's an undeniable fact that Ali Daei is the player who should be named as the best Iranian footballer of all time. He holds the record for the most number of caps as well as the most number of goals of all time for Iran national team, with a total of 109 goals in 149 appearances. Not only that, he was also selected as the best Asian footballer of 1999 and twice awarded the Top Goalscorer of the Year by IFFHS. At club level, Daei won numerous titles, including three Iranian League titles (with Persepolis and Saipa) and a Bundesliga title (with Bayern Munich).

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