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Team Captain Profile: Iran’s Javad Nekounam

Team Captain Profile: Iran’s Javad Nekounam

Javad Nekounam has been captain of the Iran national football team since 2009 but he has been a mainstay of the Persian side since making his international debut in 2000. This year’s Brazil tournament is likely to be his last World Cup.

 

The dynamic Al-Kuwait midfielder is renowned for his knack for creating goals during crucial situations, effectively finding the net just when his team needs it most. He found the target 37 times in his more than 130 international appearances.

 

Nekounam may have much younger colleagues in the Iranian squad but he remains a major force to be reckoned with. A good proof to this claim would be his six goals in the Asian qualifiers which led The National Team to top both the third and fourth rounds for the FIFA World Cup 2014 finals. His skills and disciple barely waned with age; in fact, he remained agile in ball passing, conversion, and in counter attacks.

 

The Rey native played in his country’s opening two World Cup matches in Germany 2006. Although the team failed to win any fixture (with group stage inflictions from Mexico and Portugal and a draw with Angola), he impressed enough to earn a contract with La Liga side Osasuna. The signing made Nekounam the very first Iranian player to appear in Spain’s top-tier football where he spent six years netting over 20 goals in nearly 150 caps.

 

The Iranian player’s superb displays allowed him to be shortlisted for the AFC Player of the Year award, but he lost the accolade to China’s Zheng Zhi.

 

After Spain, Nekounam went back to his country to play for Esteghlal and then to another Middle-Eastern country where he was sought to be part of Kuwait SC.

 

Image source: Zimbio

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