Search icon


30th Jun 2018

Iranian star quits international football at the age of 23

The Rubin Kazan striker has had enough

Patrick McCarry

The Rubin Kazan striker has had enough

Iran are headed home from the 2018 World Cup and they can consider themselves unlucky.

Carlos Queiroz’ side defeated Morocco and drew with Portugal but their group stage loss to Spain, second match out, did for them.

Sardar Azmoun featured in all three games and, as a forward, had some clashes with the likes of Gerard Pique, Pepé and Sergio Ramos. Azmoun and Iran gave it a rattle but it was, ultimately, not to be.

Azmoun has been upset by some of the criticism that has come his way, and the way of his teammates, following Iran’s World Cup exit. To that end, he has decided to quit international football at the age of just 23.

‘It was a great honour for me to play in my national team,’ he wrote [via Instagram], ‘and I am proud of myself till the end of my life.

‘Unfortunately, with all the interest I have, and contrary to the will of my heart, I decided to say goodbye to the national team of my country.’

Azmoun revealed that one of the main motivating factors in his decision to step away from the national team has to do with his mother.

‘My mother had overcome a serious illness and I was happy,’ he continued, ‘but unfortunately because of the unkindness of some people – and the insults that me and my team-mates in no way deserved – her illness has become severe.

‘This has put me in a difficult position where I must pick one or the other, and as a result I pick my mother.’

A noble deed by Azmoun and one hopes that, in time, he may be able to make a return to the national team. He has so much more to give.