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Best Iranian legionnaires in Europe

Tue 19 October 2021 | 7:00

Having a look at the history of football in Europe and Iran, it is seen that many Iranian footballers have played in Europe. In this article today, we are going over the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe. Stay tuned!

Iranian football legionnaires have been playing in Europe for many years. If you have a look at the history of football in Europe, you can easily understand that Iranians have played in Germany, England, France, Russia, Spain and more.

Some of the names in the

Iranian football players in Europe

stand out among the others; such as Ali Daei, the striker who has played for Arminia Bielefeld, Bayern Munich and Hertha BSC. This former footballer was the world’s international top scorer until Cristiano Ronaldo broke his record of 109 international goals.

Another name that stands out is Mehdi Taremi, the current striker of FC Porto. This brilliant striker has been doing pretty well since he went to Europe, as he became the Primeira Liga top scorer in the 2019/20 season while playing for Rio Ave. This Iranian striker had a brilliant performance at Porto during the 2020/21 season; he scored an extraordinary goal against Chelsea with a fabulous bicycle kick in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.     

Iranian football players in Europe

It was a tricky task to choose the Iranian legionnaires to write here, but we selected the best ones for you. In this article, we are going to have a look at the

best Iranian legionnaires in Europe

. Stay with us and keep reading the article. 

Retired Iranian Football Legionnaires in Europe

In this part of the article, we will have a look at the retired Iranian football players in Europe.

Khodadad Azizi

The first footballer in the list of the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe is Khodadad Azizi, who is often remembered for his goal that made Iran beat Australia in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers that made “Teammelli” qualify for the World Cup.

This Iranian striker, who was born in Mashhad, started his career as a footballer at Aboomoslem, the club which is based in Mashhad and currently competes in League 3. In 1993, he joined Fath Tehran and after 2 years, this Iranian former footballer moved to Bahman.

After playing for Bahman for a year, he joined

Persepolis

under a loan, where he made it to go to Europe. Azizi reached 3rd place in the Asian Club Championship with the Reds of Tehran.

In 1997, Khodadad joined the Bundesliga club,

FC Köln

and played there until 2000. They won the Bundesliga 2 title in the 1999/00 season and made it to the Bundesliga.

After 3 years with the Billy Goats, this Iranian legionnaire moved to San Jose Earthquakes and after a year playing for them, he joined Al Nasr UAE. In 2001, Azizi joined Pas and played for them until 2005. They became the Iran Pro League champions in the 2003/04 season.

Khodadad Azizi returned to Europe as he signed with Admira Wacker, an Austrian club. However, he left the club after a short time to join Oghab. After a year, this brilliant footballer moved to Rah Ahan, where he finished his career in 2006.

Having played for FC Köln and Admira Wacker, Khodadad Azizi is one of the

Iranian football legionnaires

who have played in Europe.

Let’s keep on the other Iranian football players in Europe.

Mehdi Pashazadeh

The next footballer among the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe is the former defender, Mehdi Pashazadeh.

Being born in Tehran, this former defender played for

Esteghlal

from 1992 until 1998, where he won the league title in the 1997/98 season. In 1998, Pashazadeh moved to

Bayer Leverkusen

, however, his time at this club didn’t last more than a year and in the next season, this defender joined Fortuna Köln.

Pahazadeh returned to Esteghlal in 2000 and played for them until 2003. He won another league title in the 2000/01 season and won the Hazfi Cup in the next season.

This former footballer then moved to Austria. He played for Rapid Wien and Sturm Graz 1 season but showed up at Admira Wacker 2 seasons and in 2007, Mehdi finished his career.

Having played for Bayer Leverkusen, Fortuna Köln, Rapid Wien, Sturm Graz and Admira Wacker, Mehdi Pashazadeh is one of the Iranian football legionnaires.

Mehdi Mahdavikia

The next name on our list for the

best Iranian football players

who have played in Europe is the Iranian rocket, Mehdi Mahdavikia. He started his career as a footballer at Bank Melli. Mehdi moved to Persepolis in 1995 and played for the reds of the capital until 1998. Then he joined Pas and then VfL Bochum under a loan.

In 1999, Mahdavikia joined

Hamburger SV

, where he won DFB-Ligapokal and UEFA Intertoto Cup. After 8 years of playing for the Red Shorts, the Iranian rocket joined

Eintracht Frankfurt

and played for them until 2010.

In 2010, he went back to Iran to join Steel Azin, although he moved to Damash Gilan after only 1 season. Mehdi played for Damash for 1 season too and in 2012, the Iranian rocket returned to Persepolis, where he finished his career as a footballer.

Having played for VfL Bochum, Hamburger SV and Eintracht Frankfurt, Mehdi Mahdavikia is among the best Iranian football players in Europe.

Let’s continue with the other

best Iranian legionnaires in Europe

.

Ali Daei

The last footballer among the retired Iranian football players in Europe is

Ali Daei

, the former striker. Born in Ardabil, he started playing football as his career at Esteghlal Ardabil. In 1989, Daei joined Taxirani FC and after a year, he joined Tejarat Bank FC and after 4 years, the previous international top scorer moved to Persepolis, where he won the league title in 1996.

After 2 years of playing for Persepolis, this former footballer moved to Qatar to play for Al Sadd and after only a year, he joined

Arminia Bielefeld

. In 1998, Daei joined

Bayern Munich

, where he won the Bundesliga title and made it to the Champions League final, where they were defeated by Manchester United.

Ali Daei went on to join Hertha BSC in 1999, where he played until 2002. This outstanding Iranian former footballer then moved to UAE to play for Al Shabab and after a year, he returned to Iran.

Daei joined Persepolis and after a year, he moved to Saba Battery, where he won the Hazfi Cup and the Iranian Super Cup in 2005. In 2006, Ali Daei joined Saipa and after a year, he finished his career as a footballer.

It is interesting to know that Ali Daei had held the record of most international goals before

Cristiano Ronaldo

broke it.

Having played for Arminia Bielefeld, Bayern Munich and Hertha BSC, Ali Daei’s name is among the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe.

Active Iranian Football Legionnaires in Europe    

Now it is time to go over the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe who are currently playing there. Stay with us!

Saman Ghoddos

Saman Ghoddos is one of the best Iranian football players who is playing in Europe. This winger is now playing for

Brentford

. He was born and raised in Malmö, but his parents are Iranian.

Ghoddos got a call up for the Swedish national team in 2016 and made 2 appearances and scored 1 goal for them, whereas got a call up from the Iranian national team in 2017 and decided to play for Iranians.

This brilliant footballer played for BK Vången, FC Malmö and Limhamn Bunkeflo at the youth level and at the senior level, Ghoddos has played for Limhamn Bunkeflo, Trelleborg, Syrianska, Östersund, Amiens and as said before, he is now playing for Brentford.

In the 2016/17 season, Saman won the Svenska Cupen title with Östersund and with Brentford, he won the EFL Championship play-offs in 2021.

Let’s move on to the other best Iranian football players in Europe.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh   

The next footballer among the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe is Alireza Jahanbakhsh. This brilliant winger started playing football as his career at Payam Alborz Qazvin. Then he played for Persian Qazvin and Damash Gilan at the youth level.

At the senior level, Jahanbakhsh played for Damash Tehran, where he made 12 appearances. After one season, he returned to Damash Gilan. This Iranian winger played there from 2011 until 2013 and showed up in 44 games, scoring 10 goals. Then he joined NEC Nijmegen, where he won Eerste Divisie in the 2014/15 season and made 55 appearances and scored 17 goals.

After 2 years of playing for NEC, Jahanbakhsh moved to

Alkmaar Zaanstreek

in 2015, where he became the league’s top scorer in the 2017/18 season. 3 years later, Alireza joined

Brighton

, where he played until 2021 and made 50 appearances and 4 goals. This Iranian footballer then joined

Feyenoord

.

Having played for NEC Nijmegen, Alkmaar Zaanstreek, Brighton and Feyenoord, Alireza Jahanbakhsh is one of the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe.

Sardar Azmoun

The next name on our list for the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe is

Sardar Azmoun

. This brilliant forward was born in Gonbad-e Kavus and was born to a Sunni family. His father, Khalil Azmoun, is a former Iranian national volleyball team player.

Azmoun started his football career at Oghab Gonbad in 2004 and after 2 years, he joined Gol Gohar Sirjan. He played there until 2008 and joined Shamoushak Gorgan, however, after only 1 year, this Iranian forward moved to Etka Gorgan. After 1 year of playing for them, Sardar joined

Sepahan

, where he won the Iran Pro League title in the 2011/12 season.

For his senior career, Azmoun played for Sepahan until 2013 and then moved to Russia. He showed up at

Rubin Kazan

in 2015 and made 27 appearances and scored 5 goals. This Iranian forward then moved to

Rostov

and played there until 2017.  He made 62 appearances and scored 19 goals at Rostov.

In 2017, Azmoun returned to Rubin Kazan, where he played in 40 games and scored 9 goals until 2019. Then he moved to Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Kaveh Rezaei   

The next name on our list is Kaveh Rezaei. This Iranian forward started playing football as his career at

Foolad Khuzestan

with 33 games played. In 2012, Rezaei joined Saipa and made 69 appearances and scored 12 goals.

3 years later, Kaveh moved to Zob Ahan, where he 2 Hazfi Cup titles. He played there until 2016, making 34 appearances and scoring 11 goals. This Iranian footballer then joined Esteghlal, where he played just 1 season.

 After performing in 28 games and scoring 7 goals, Rezaei moved to Belgium to sign with

Charleroi

. However, he played there only one season and joined

Club Brugge

. After 3 years of playing for them and making 11 appearances with 1 goal scored, Kaveh returned to Charleroi. In 2021, he joined OH Leuven, which is his current club.   

Mehdi Taremi

The last name on our list for the best Iranian legionnaires in Europe is

Mehdi Taremi

, who has had a brilliant performance in

Porto

. Born in Bushehr, this Iranian striker started playing football at Bargh Bushehr.

After 4 years at Bargh Bushehr, Taremi joined Iranjavan. He started his senior career with a move to Shahin Bushehr. After 2 years, Taremi returned to Iranjavan and in 2014, he signed with Persepolis. Mehdi won a Persian Gulf Pro League title and an Iranian Super Cup with the Reds of the capital. He also became the league’s top scorer twice in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons.

In 2018, this Iranian striker moved to Al Gharafa, however, after only 1 season, he left Qatar to join

Rio Ave

, where he became the Primeira Liga Top scorer. After only a year, Taremi joined Porto.

In the 2020/21 season, Mehdi scored a fabulous goal with a bicycle kick against

Chelsea

in the quarter-finals of the UCL, which became the UEFA Fans’ Goal of the Tournament.

This was our article on the

best Iranian legionnaires in Europe

. Thanks for reading. Do YOU want to add any names? Write it in the comments section.   

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