Monday, December 22, 2014

Iran Greatest All-time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Iran World Cup 1998

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index

Starting in 1960's, Iran has always been one of the best teams in Asia.  They won three straight Asian Cup between 1968 and 1976.  They also won the Gold Medal at the Asian Games in 1974.  They qualified for the Olympics in 1964, 1972 and 1976.  They qualified for the 1978 World Cup Finals.  They managed to draw Scotland in the group stage.  However, after the Iran Revolution of 1979, Iranian football regressed, largely due to the Iran-Iraq War that stopped Iran for playing internationally.  

Iran reentered the international stage in 1990's and coincided with the birth of a Golden Generation of Iranian players.  In 1997, they eliminated Australia in the continental playoff and advanced to France 1998.  Led by Khodadad Azizi, Ali Daei, Mehdi Mahdavikia and Karim Bagheri, Iran fielded probably the best ever team at the World Cup Finals.  They beat the United States in the second match of Group stage, earning their first ever World Cup victory.  And because of the political difference between the two countries, the match was viewed as the most political charged match of the tournament.  However, both teams conducted themselves in a friendly manner before and after the game, and were rewarded with the Fair Play Award.  After 1998, a large number of Iranian players went to play and found successes overseas.  Team Melli went on to qualify for the World Cup Finals in 2006 and 2010.  

This is my selection of a 23-member all-time team for Iran.  Iranian players were also included on my all-team for West Asia.
World Cup Finals 1978

GK: Naser Hejazi
Naser Hejazi was considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the history of Asia.  He won the Asian Cup on two occasions in 1972 and 1976, and Asian Games title once, and competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics and 1976 Montreal Olympics and 1978 FIFA World Cup. He had 62 caps between 1968 and 1980.  He was forced to retire from the national team to age restriction imposed in the 1980's. He won the Asian Club Championship in 1970 with Taj Tehran.
Naser Hejazi
GK: Ahmadreza Abedzadeh
Ahmadreza Abedzadeh played for Esteghlal, Sepahan and  Persepolis in a career that started in the 1980's.  He played his last club game in 2001. He was capped 79 times for Iran between 1987 and 1998.  He was the starting keeper at the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.  He missed the first match against Yugoslavia, but he captained two remaining matches.  He won the Gold medal in the 1990 Asian Games, where he saved two penalties in the Final against North Korea. 

GK: Hossein Ali Khan-Sardar
Hossein Ali Khan-Sardar played his club football in Belgium whilst studying. In 1919 he returned to Iran,  but in 1920, he joined Switzerland's Servette Geneva where he played professional football. Upon his return from Europe he played for Toofan FC in Tehran.  He played in an era before the creation of an Iranian national team.  He had represented Tehran on a tour of the USSR.  He also appeared in one match for Switzerland.

RB/RM: Mehdi Mahdavikia 
Mehdi Mahdavikia was chosen as the Asian Player of the Year in 2003.  He was a star in Bundesliga while playing for Hamburger SV.  He was chosen as their Player of the Year twice. He also played for played for Persepolis, Eintracht Frankfurt, Steel Azin and Damash Gilan He played in two World Cup Finals, 1998 and 2006 for the Iranian national team.  Mahdavikia was capped 110 times between 1996 and 2009.
Mehdi Mahdavikia
RB/SW: Javad Zarincheh 
Zarincheh was considered one of the best right wing backs in the history of Iranian football. He played as a sweeper at the end of his career. In the 1998 World Cup, he played as the right wing for the Iranian national team. Iran's first goal against the United States was assisted by Zaricheh.  He had a total of 80 caps despite being ignored by Iran head coach Mohammad Mayelikohan during his tenure. He was known for his club career with Esteghlal F.C..

Hosseini has represented Iran at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, 2011 AFC Asian Cup, 2015 AFC Asian Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  he had a total of 115 caps between 2007 and 2018.  For his club career, he was known for playing with Persepolis.  He also played for Sepahan as well as other clubs in Iran.  Between 2014 and 2015, he spent a season in Qatar.  He was selected as Iran's AFC Champions League Legend as well as many individual awards.

In his club career, Mohammad Panjali played for Bargh Tehran, Fath Tehran, Aboomoslem, Persepolis FC, Al-Gharafa.  His longest club was with Persepolis, where the club won the AFC Cup Winners' Cup in 1990-1991 season.  He spent a season playing in Qatar with Al Gharafa.  Between 1978 and 1991, he made 45 appearances with the national team.  He served as their captain.  In 1990, he was a part of the team that won the Asian Game Gold medal.
Mohammad Panjali 
CB: Rahman Rezaei 
Rahman Rezaei spent 7 seasons playing in Italy, six of them were in Serie A.  He spent his best seasons with Messina, where he played between 2003 and 2006.  He was probably the most successful Iranian defender playing in Europe. He played 56 times for Iran between 2001 and 2009. He played in the 2006 World Cup Finals, but was criticized by his performance there.

CB: Hassan Habibi 
Born in 1939, Hassan Habibi was a long-time captain of Iranian national team that went to the 1964 Summer Olympics and won the Asian Cup in 1968. He had 31 caps for Iran between 1958 and 1970. He first played his club football with Shahin FC in 1958 and joined Taj SC two years later. In 1964, he joined PAS Tehran and played there until 1971.

Andranik Eskandarian is probably the most famous Iranian player in the world during the 1970's because he played with Pele in NY Cosmos.  He was a sweeper, but played both rightback and leftback for NY Cosmos.  He played for the F.C. Ararat Tehran and Taj SC before going to the United States.  For the national team, he won the Asian Cup in 1976 and went to the 1978 World Cup Finals. His son played for the USA.
Andranik Eskandarian
LB: Mojtaba Moharrami
Mojtaba Moharrami was banned twice in football after a brawl in an Iranian league match and a fight with a referee during an Asian Cup game.  He was, however, a fan favorite in Iran and for his club team Persepolis.  He won a Gold Medal at the Asian Games in 1990 and then, an AFC Cup Winners' Cup in 1990-1991.  He only had 37 caps for Iran between 1988 and 1996.

Karim Bagheri was a star of Iran during the late 1990's.  He played for Arminia Bielefeld in Germany and Charlton Athletic in England although he failed in England. He played over half of his professional career for Persepolis in the Iran Pro League.   He played 87 times for Iran between 1993 and 2010.  He was remembered for sparking the comeback win against Australia that led to Iran's qualification for the World Cup Finals in 1998. 
Karim Bagheri
Javad Nekounam capped over 150 times for Iran and was their captain. He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014. He spent most of his professional career with Pas and Spain's Osasuna, appearing in 197 official games and scoring 31 goals during his two spells with the latter and also being team captain. He also competed in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, during 18 seasons overall.

Parviz Ghelichkhani played for Kian F.C., Taj, Pas FC, Oghab FC, Daraei FC and finally Persepolis, before leaving for San Jose Earthquakes in the NASL in 1978.  He won the Asian Nations Cup three consecutive times with Iran, in 1968, in 1972, and in 1976, when he captained the team. In 1974 he captained the Iranian team to win the football tournament of the Asian Games in Tehran.  He had 66 caps.

AM: Ali Karimi 
Ali Karimi was Asia Player of the year in 2004.  He has played for Fath Tehran, Persepolis, Al-Ahli Dubai, Qatar SC, Steel Azin, Schalke 04 and Tractor Sazi. He spent two seasons with Bayern Munich, winning the League/Cup Double in 2005/2006.  He was capped 127 times for Iran, appearing at five major tournaments.  Iran captured Gold at the 1998 Asian Games. He played in the 2006 World Cup Finals.  He was considered to be one Iran's greatest footballers.
Ali Karimi
AM: Khodadad Azizi
Khodadad Azziz was a star in the 1990's, playing along side with Ali Daei. He represented Iran at the 1996 Asian Cup, 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2000 Asian Cup. He was named Asian Player of the Year in 1996, as well as the Asian Cup Most Valuable Player in the 1996 Asian Cup. Having played for three seasons in 1. FC Köln, he joined San Jose Earthquakes. He also played for UAE club Al Nasr, Pas Tehran and Admira of the Austrian Bundesliga. He is of Hazara ethnicity.

ST/LW: Boyuk Jeddikar
He is known for being the first footballer in Iranian football history to be transferred from an Iranian club to a foreign club. In 1957, Boyuk Jeddikar was transferred to Viktoria 89 Berlin on a three-year contract with a 1500 Deutschmarks a month salary, however his time in Germany was shortened when his father died, so after only 9 months Jeddikar returned to Iran to resume his career with Taj SC (currently Esteghlal).  He was capped 29 times for Iran between 1950 and 1965. 

AM/RM: Ali Parvin
Ali Parvin was considered the greatest Iranian player of all-time.  He played 78 times for Iran between 1970 and 1980. He won two Asian Cups in the 1970's and qualified for the World Cup Finals in 1978.  He also played in the Summer Olympics in 1972 and 1976.  He spent 18 seasons with Persepolis in Iran. He was selected as one of the seventeen Asian football elites by AFC and received a statue from this confederation.
Ali Parvin
ST: Hassan Rowshan 
Hassan Rowshan won the Asian Games in Tehran in 1974 and Asian Cup 1976 in Tehran as well as reaching the quarterfinals of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.  He was the star player as Iran qualified for the WC Finals in 1978, but an injury limited his playing time in the Finals.  He started his career with Taj Tehran(Esteghlal F.C.) .  After the World Cup Finals in 1978, he went to play club football  in UAE.

Azmoun made his debut for the Iran national team in 2014 aged 19. He has been a regular with Team Melli playing in the 2015 and 2019 AFC Asian Cup as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  He started with Sepahan before turning professional, he joined FC Rubin Kazan in Russia.  Later, he became a star with Zenit Saint Petersburg.  In 2021, he joined Bayer Leverkusen. He is the second-most expensive Iranian player of all-time. 

A late bloomer, he begun his career at Shahin Bushehr and Iranjavan, Taremi played for Persepolis between 2014 and 2018. He played for Qatari side Al-Gharafa between 2018 and 2019, before joining Rio Ave in Portugal, with whom he was Primeira Liga joint-top scorer in 2019–20. In 2020, he moved to fellow Portuguese side Porto, where he became a star.  At the time of writing, he had 65 caps starting in 2015.

ST: Gholam Hossein Mazloumi 
He was a star players in the 1970's.  During his time as a football player, he scored 37 goals for the Iran national football team and was Iran's all-time top scorer for twelve years before his record being broken by Ali Daei.  He was the top scorer at the 1974 Asian Games and the 1976 AFC Asian Cup.  He won two Asian Cups(1972, 1976) and one Asian Games Gold Medal(1974).  He went to the Olympics in 1976 where Iran reached the quaterfinal.

ST: Ali Daei
Ali Daei was capped 149 times for Team Melli. He was the world's all-time leading goalscorer in men's international matches with 109 goals before Cristiano Ronaldo broke it.  He was considered one of the most successful Iranians playing in Europe.  He spent 5 seasons in the Bundesliga.  While playing for Hertha Berlin, he scored two goals against Chelsea in the Champions' League in 1999 which was considered one of the epic matches of the tournament. 
Ali Daei
Honorable Mention
Ebrahim Mirzapour, Alireza Beiranvand, Mehdi Rahmati, Mohammad Khakpour, Hossein Kaebi, Mostafa Arab, Ehsan Hajsafi, Mohammad Nosrati, Mehrdad Minavand, Ashkan Dejagah, Jalal Hosseini, Ebrahim Ashtiani, Mehdi Rahmati, Ghafour Jahani, Javad Zarincheh, Ehsan Hajsafi, Ali Jabbari, Hamid Estili, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Farhad Majidi, Hamid Derakhshan, Nasser Mohammadkhani, Sirous Ghayeghran, Sardar Azmoun, Homayoun Behzadi, Masoud Boroumand, Nasser Mohammadkhani, Hossein Sadaghiani, Farshad Pious, Ashkan Dejagah, Mohammad Khakpour, Hossein-Ali Khan Sardar, Ahmad-Ali Khan Sardar, Khan Khanan, Masoud Boroumand, Ashkan Dejagah, Jalal Hosseini, Javad Zarincheh, Hossein Kaebi, Parviz Koozehkanani, Mohammad Reza Adelkhan, Vahid Hashemian, Sirous Ghayeghran.
 Squad Explanation 
-- This team was created in 2014. I underwent a massive review on March, 2023.  I found that my original research was poorly done,
- Ali Karimi, Ali Parvin and Ali Daei were my automatic selection. I considered them to be Iran's greatest ever players.  No detail is needed to explain their inclusion.
-- Ali Karimi, Ali Daei, Khodadad Azizi and Mehdi Mahdavikia won Asian Player of the Year.
-- Iran had successes from the 1960's onward.  My team has a good balance of players from different eras.  
-- The 1998 World Cup Finals in France is not Iran's first World Cup Finals, but it was probably their greatest ever team.  In the Group Stage, they beat the USA 2-1, which was a historical victory. Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, Javad Zarincheh, Khodadad Azizi, Ali Daei, Mehdi Mahdavikia and Karim Bagheri are selected into this all-time team.
-- Iran first qualified for the 1978 World Cup Finals.  I have three players selected from that team: Ali Parvin, Hassan Roshan and Andranik Eskandarian.
-- Ali Karimi, Ali Daei and Mohammad Reza Adelkhani played for Bayern Munich.  Ali Karimi was probably the most successful.  Al Daei's best stint in Germany was with Hertha Berlin.  Mohammad Reza Adelkhani only spent a short time over there in the 1960's.
-- The IFFHS chose the following players for their All-Time Best XI: Nasser Hejazi, Mehdi Mahdavikia, Javad Zarincheh, Mohammad Khakpour, Rahman Rezaei, Andranik Eskandarian, Karim Bagheri, Ali Parvin, Ali Karimi, Ali Daei and Khodadad Azizi.
-- At the time of writing, only two players never played for Taj Tehran (Esteghlal) nor Persepolis FC.  Hossein Ali Khan-Sardar's club career happened before the foundation of neither club.   Sardar Azmoun joined the Russian club Rubin Kazan before he made his first team debut in Iran.  At the time of writing, he is only 28 years old.  He can still join one of the two clubs in Tehran at the end of his career.
-- Naser Hejazi was the overwhelm choice for Iran's greatest goalkeeper.  He was voted as the IFFHS's second greatest Asian goalkeeper of the Century.  He had an unbeaten record in the Tehran derby with 13 matches, 7 wins and 6 draws.
-- In 2008, an Iran poll selected Ahmad Abedzadeh as Iran's most popular player in the last 3 decades. He earned the nickname "Eagle of Asia". For the national team, he won the Asian Games gold medal in 1990.  Two of the sources I found listed him among the top 10 greatest footballers, but after Hejazi.
-- Ebrahim Mirzapour was on my origin team.  Upon further research, I discovered Hossein Ali Khan-Sardar who was an active players roughly 90 years before Mirzapour.  He actually never played for Iran because he played in an era before the creation of the Iranian national team, but he did represent Tehran Best XI.  He was one of the first Iranian to play abroad and even, played once for the Swiss national team. I also wanted to spread the team across different eras.  Furthermore, he reached an important milestone for Iranian footballers.  So he was selected as the third keeper.
-- Alireza Beiranvand seemed to be a great candidate who emerged since I created this team.  He has been the best goalkeeper in the Persian Gulf Pro League for four consecutive seasons from 2014 to 2019 and has also been the Iranian Footballer of the Year in 2019. 
-- I also looked into Mehdi Rahmati whom played over 70 times for Iran.  
-- In 2023, I decided to add Jalal Hosseini and Mohammad Panjali to the team. Both were close to being selected in 2014. Jalal Hosseini was chosen to be Iran's AFC Champions League Legend in 2020.  He was the captain of Persepolis.  Mohammad Panjali seemed to be popular choice.  One Iranian placed him as the 11th greatest footballer.  He was a star defender for Persepolis in the 1960's.  he started as a leftback and later converted into a central defender. Rahman Rezaei had a steady career in Italy while Hassan Habibi captained Iran.  The four of them were my central defenders.
Jalal Hosseini 
-- Before I started my research, I never thought Mohammad Khakpour won't make this team.  I saw him in action before and was impressed by his performance.  
-- The rightback position was easy to select.  Mehdi Mahdavikia is considered one of the most successful Iranian players playing in Europe. He was selected as Hamburg SV All-Time Best XI in 2012. The IFFHS also put him on their Asia All-Time Dream team.  One Iranian website listed Javad Zarincheh as the 14th greatest footballer ever.  The IFFHS selected him as a central defender, where he played at the end of his career.  He kept Hossein Kaebi out of the team.  Kaebi spent a season with Leicester in England, but never got his chance.  He spent the rest of his career playing for various clubs in Iran. Kaebi won his first cap having just turned 16.  He had 84 caps between 2002 and 2010.  He represented Iran at the 2006 World Cup Finals.  
-- In 2014, I misidentified Ebrahim Ashtiani as a central defender.  From Persian language sources I discovered in 2023 placed him as a rightback.  So I dropped him.  He won the Asian Cup in Thailand in 1972 as well as the football tournament of the 1974 Asian Games in Tehran. He made 35 appearances for the Iran national football team from 1969 to 1974 and was part of the Iranian team competing in the football tournament of the Olympics in Munich 1972.  He started his career with Shahin in Iran, but pent most of his careers at Persepolis. 
-- The leftback position was more tricky.  Andranik Eskandarian was the most famous Iranian player before the 1990's, but it was largely due to the fact that he was playing with Pele in NY Cosmos. In Iran, he was a sweeper according to an interview by him.  In New York, he alternated between rightback and leftback. I still selected him here because playing with Pele had risen the profile of Iranian footballers.  He earned his spot through contributions to the game.  I almost dropped Mojtaba Moharrami for his controversial behaviour.  One Iranian website placed him as the 13th greatest players of all-time.  He was full of talents, but somewhat had some difficulties in his career.  The second leftback position was between him and Mostafa Arab.   In 2014, I somehow thought that Mostafa Arab was a central defender, but he was actually listed as a leftback by two Iranian sources.  Mostafa Arab made his national debut at the age of 16, the second youngest ever national team player.  He won the Asian Cup in 1968 and 1972.  Arab played for Iran at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.  He played 48 times for Iran.  He was also very educated.  He held six master degrees from universities in the USA and Iran.  
-- Ehsan Hajsafi is currently the third most capped player for Iran.  He is regarded as a utility player, being able to play as left midfielder, left-back, defensive midfielder, and winger.  I also looked into Mohammad Nosrati and Mehrdad Minavand.
-- Ali Daei, Khodadad Azizi and Karim Bagheri formed one of best offensive trio in Asian football's history.  Bagheri usually played in a deeper role.  So he was the first midfielder chosen alongside Javad Nekounam.  He played many years in Spain.  He was Bagheri's heir apparent on the national team. He was the second most capped Iranian player ever.  He was also the captain of the national team in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
 -- In 2015, I somehow selected Hamid Estili.  He scored one of the historical goals that beat the USA at World Cup Finals in 1998, but I replaced him with Parviz Ghelichkhani in 2023.  An Iranian source said that he was the best player the domestic game had ever seen. He was a two way midfielder.  For the national team, he played in all positions except goalkeeper.  His most important goal for Iran came in the 1968 Asian Cup final against Israel in which helped Iran to their first ever Asian championship for the first time. 
-- Ali Daei and Karim Bagheri formed one of best offensive trio in Asian football's history. Bagheri and Daei has wonderful careers in Europe while Azizi did not do as well. Nevertheless, Azizi was considered the best in Asia during his prime.  All three were selected.
Khodadad Azizi
-- Ali Parvin is sometimes known as Iran's greatest player before the 1990's generation. He was one of the biggest legends in the history of Persepolis.  He was among the greatest ever from the AFC.  For the more recent fans, Ali Karimi was known as the most talented football player ever from Iran.  He was named the Asian Player of the Year in 2004. His club career in Europe was somewhat ineffective as compared to other Iranians.  Nevertheless, he was often placed as the top 2 or 3 greatest players ever from this country.  The attack midfield position was secured with Ali Parvin, Ali Karimi and Khodadad Azizi.
-- I selected Mehdi Mahdavikia as my rightback, but he was also Iran's greatest right winger.  Ali Parvin also played on the right.  So the wide right position had been addressed.  In 2020, I added Alireza Jahanbakhsh to honorable mention.  He might make the team one day.  He was the top scorer for 2017–18 Eredivisie season.  His career has not panned out since then.  At the time of writing, he is in doubt.  He played mainly as a right wing forward.
-- The team lacked a good left side midfielder or wingers.  Hamid Derakhshan was known to be a left-side midfielder.  In the 1950's and 1960's, he was one of the pillars of Persepolis and the national team.  Boyük Jeddikar (see below)was known for his "Golden Left Foot".  He might be a left winger in his prime.
-- Ali Daei was the world's top international goalscorer with 109 goals,until his record was broken by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2021.  He is considered to be Iran's greatest ever player.
-- I found an Iranian and an English source that ranked Hassan Roshan as one of the 10 greatest Iranian players.  He helped Iran to win the 1974 Asian Games and the Asian Cup two years later. He would have been a key player for Iran at their first World Cup Finals in 1978, but he had a limited role due to an injury.  Gholam Hossein Mazloumi was Iran's all-time top scorer for twelve years before his record being broken by Ali Daei.  He won various scoring titles for his club teams as well.
Gholam Hossein Mazloumi
-- Farshad Pious got overlooked because he played in an era between the Golden Generation of the late 1990's and the 1978 World Cup team. He won the Gold Medal at the Asian Games, but it was uneventful as compared to other generation. The other Iranians had done well at the bigger stage.
-- Hossein Sadaghiani was the first ever Iranian to play in an European league, but he was on the youth team of Charleroi while studying in Belgium. His career was spent in the lower division.  He also played in Austria and Turkey. I only put him on honorable mention.  Instead, I took Boyük Jeddikar.  He was the first ever Iranian signed by an European club to play in football when he joined the German league.  He was known for his "Golden Left Foot".  He got selected to the all-time team because he broke entry barrier for Iranians.
-- Parviz Koozehkanani and Mohammad Reza Adelkhan were also pioneer in European football, but they only made honorable mentions.  Parviz Koozehkanani only spent a short time in Germany.  Mohammad Reza Adelkhan was discovered by Bayern Munich while playing a friendly match for in Turkey. In 1962, he joined Bayern Munich II.  He also played for SG Wattenscheid 09, Wuppertaler SV, Rot-Weiß Oberhausen and VfL Klafeld-Geisweid before moving back to Iran. They were in the lower level in Germany. Bayern Munich was not yet a big club in the early 1960's.
-- According to an Iranian site, Masoud Boroumand was listed as Iran's best player in the 1950's.  He was rated ahead of Boyük Jeddikar, but I still went with Jeddikar. Jeddikar was more famous to the modern fans because Jaddikar broke the barrier of playing in Europe.  Boroumand's overseas career was with Washington University in the USA.  He was the first Iranian to score a hattrick in an international game. I also looked into Hossein-Ali Khan Sardar (Belgium and Switzerland), Ahmad-Ali Khan Sardar (Belgium) and Khan Khanan (Belgium). They were all footballers studying and playing abroad.
-- Due to the Iranian Revolution, Nasser Mohammadkhani only had 27 caps.  Nevertheless, he was the top scorer at the 1984 Asian Cup.  I did not have a spot for him.
-- Sardar Azmoun was named Russian Premier League Player of the Season for the  2020–21 season.  He was also their top scorer  in the 2019 and 2020 season. Mehdi Taremi's performance in Porto spoke for itself.  In 2022, he ranked 4th highest scorer by UEFA just behind Kylian Mbappé, Erling Haaland, and Robert Lewandowski. In addition, he was awarded by Portuguese daily "O Jogo" as the best player in the Primeira Liga for te 2021-2022 season.  In 2023, I added them to the team.  I dropped Vahid Hashemian.  He was known for playing in Bundesliga between 1999 and 2010.  He was relatively successful in Europe, but Azmoun and Taremi probably did moreHe only had 50 caps, largely because he refused to play for Iran for a while. 
Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi
Starting lineup
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Ali Daei is a striker who can hold the ball while I have three great playmakers behind him. The midfield is well-protected. I started Andranik Eskandarian at leftback over Mojtaba Moharrami.