ALI DAEILegendary Iran Footballer
- Date of Birth
- March 21, 1969
- Place of Birth
- Ardabil, Iran
- 1.92 m (6 ft 3 1⁄2 in)
- Playing Position
- Centre forward
Ali Daei (Persian: علی دایی (help·info), pronounced [ʔæliː dɑːjiː]; born 21 March 1969) is an Iranian former footballer and coach. Daei currently coaches Persian Gulf Pro League club Saba Qom. He is the former captain of the Iran national football team, having played for clubs such as Bayern Munich and Hertha BSC, and is the world’s all-time leading goalscorer in men’s international matches. From June 2007 until 2013, Daei was a member of the FIFA Football Committee.
Daei was born in Ardabil, Iran and is an Iranian Azerbaijani. Daei graduated from Sharif University of Technology in Materials Engineering (Metallurgical) with a B.Sc. degree. Born in Ardabil, he played for his hometown club, Esteqlal Ardabil, when he was 19. His next club was Taxirani F.C. in Tehran, where he played for one season, before joining another Tehrani club, Bank Tejarat FC. He stayed four years with Bank Tejarat, missing out on a chance to play in the J. League due to military service. Daei’s fame is attributed mostly to his renowned goal scoring ability. He managed to score frequently for his clubs, although due to the league schedule at the time he did not play many matches per season. His impressive performance at his club finally got results.
After playing for a couple of minor league teams, Taxirani and Bank Tejarat, in 1994 Daei joined one of country’s premier squads, Persepolis Following his impressive performance in Asian Cup in 1996 as Arminia Bielefeld joined the Bundesliga, they signed a contract with Daei and his fellow Iranian national team-mateKarim Bagheri. Ali Daei spent one season in Bielefeld and proved to be a successful franchise. He was hand picked by Bayern Munich by the club’s president, Franz Beckenbauer, who rated him as a world-class centre-forward. He made a four million Deutsche Mark move from Arminia Bielefeld to the four-time European Cup winners, which was a record for Asian players at the time.
Daei became the first Asian player to feature in a UEFA Champions League match. Yet at Bayern he found himself low in the pecking order. This couple with the Iranian national team’s scheduling, Daei had found very little time for playing. Daei was unhappy with his position in the club and decided to make a move toHertha BSC before the end of his three-year contract, when Bayern won the championship title in the 1999 Bundesliga. In 2000, he played in the Champions League with Hertha BSC, becoming the team’s best scorer in the competition with three goals. He scored his first and second goal in the UEFA Champions League on 22 September 1999 in group stage match againstChelsea won by Hertha with 2–1. His famous match against Chelsea gained him a lot of recognition. Yet even at Hertha he was not a hugely important player, since he was only amongst one of the squad’s many successful players, who were to fulfill Hertha’s Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League dreams.