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Ali Daei

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Title: Ali Daei  
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Subject: Iran national football team results – 2000s, Iran national football team results – 1990s, Iran national football team records, Iran national football team, 1996 AFC Asian Cup
Collection: 1969 Births, 1996 Afc Asian Cup Players, 1998 Fifa World Cup Players, 2000 Afc Asian Cup Players, 2004 Afc Asian Cup Players, 2006 Fifa World Cup Players, Al Sadd Sc Players, Al Shabab Al Arabi Club Players, Arminia Bielefeld Players, Asian Football Hall of Fame Inductees, Asian Footballer of the Year Winners, Asian Games Gold Medalists for Iran, Asian Games Medalists in Football, Association Football Forwards, Bundesliga Players, Expatriate Footballers in Germany, Expatriate Footballers in Qatar, Fc Bayern Munich Footballers, Fifa Century Club, Footballers at the 2002 Asian Games, Hertha Bsc Players, Iran International Footballers, Iran National Football Team Managers, Iranian Azerbaijani Sportspeople, Iranian Businesspeople, Iranian Expatriate Footballers, Iranian Expatriates in the United Arab Emirates, Iranian Football Managers, Iranian Footballers, Iranian Shia Muslims, Islamic Azad University Central Tehran Branch Alumni, Living People, People from Ardabil, Persepolis F.C. Managers, Persepolis F.C. Players, Saipa F.C. Players, Sharif University of Technology Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ali Daei

Ali Daei
Daei in 2007
Personal information
Full name Ali Daei
Date of birth (1969-03-21) 21 March 1969
Place of birth Ardabil, Iran
Height 1.92 m (6 ft 3 12 in)
Playing position Centre forward
Club information
Current team
Saba Qom (manager)
Youth career
1983–1988 Esteghlal Ardabil
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1989 Esteghlal Ardabil
1989–1990 Taxirani
1990–1994 Bank Tejarat
1994–1996 Persepolis 38 (28)
1996–1997 Al-Sadd 16 (10)
1997–1998 Arminia Bielefeld 25 (7)
1998–1999 Bayern Munich 23 (6)
1999–2002 Hertha BSC 59 (6)
2002–2003 Al Shabab 25 (11)
2003–2004 Persepolis 28 (16)
2004–2006 Saba Battery 51 (23)
2006–2007 Saipa 26 (10)
Total 287 (112)
National team
2002 Iran U23 3 (3)
1993–2006 Iran 149 (109)
Teams managed
2006–2008 Saipa
2008–2009 Iran
2009–2011 Persepolis
2011–2013 Rah Ahan
2013–2014 Persepolis
2015– Saba Qom

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Ali Daei (Persian:    ‎‎, pronounced ; 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.[1][2]


  • Club career 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Move to Europe 1.2
    • Return to Asia 1.3
  • Notable matches 2
  • International career 3
    • Criticism and controversy 3.1
  • Playing career statistics 4
    • Club career statistics 4.1
    • National team statistics 4.2
    • International goals 4.3
      • Century of international goals 4.3.1
  • Coaching career 5
    • Saipa 5.1
    • Iran national football team 5.2
    • Persepolis 5.3
    • Rah Ahan 5.4
    • Return to Persepolis 5.5
    • Coaching career statistics 5.6
    • Coaching style 5.7
  • Honours 6
    • Player 6.1
    • Manager 6.2
    • Individual 6.3
      • Player 6.3.1
      • Manager 6.3.2
  • Beyond football 7
    • Personal character 7.1
    • Personal life 7.2
    • Accident 7.3
    • Autobiography 7.4
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Club career

Early years

Daei was born in Ardabil, Iran and is an Iranian Azerbaijani.[3][4][5][6][7] 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.

Move to Europe

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-mate Karim 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.[8] 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 to Hertha 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 against Chelsea 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.

Return to Asia

At the same time he was very successful in international competition scoring in practically every game and making new records. Daei was playing in numerous continental friendlies against world class opposition, yet was still unable to maintain a stable position in his club's starting line-up. In 2001, he was not among the top scorers in the Asian Qualifying round and he did not manage to take the team into the World Cup as captain for the first time. After receiving offers from Rapid Vienna, Rangers, the J. League and a few English Premiership teams, he decided that he was no longer fit to play world-class football. He joined the UAE league at 34 years of age, signing a contract with Al-Shabab as a free agent. In 2003, Daei quit the UAE team and joined his old team in Tehran, Persepolis Daei moved from Persepolis to Saba Battery on a free transfer for a modest contract of around $300,000.

He spent two years at Saba Battery, scoring 23 goals, winning the Hazfi Cup and participating in the Asian Champions League. After World Cup 2006 and the arrival of Saba Battery's new manager, Farhad Kazemi, it was announced that he was no longer needed on the team and his contract would not be renewed. Despite rumours of retirement, he signed for another industry-linked club from Tehran, Saipa, on 1 August 2006.[9]

On 6 March 2007, Ali Daei was fined $2000 and suspended for four games by the Iranian Football Federation after the incidents in a league game where he delivered a head-butt to the face of Sheys Rezaei, the young Persepolis defender.[10] In an interview with the Iranian paper, Iran Varzeshi, Daei has criticized this decision and has threatened to take his case to FIFA headquarters if the decision is upheld by the IFF.[11]

On 28 May 2007, after Saipa won the Persian Gulf Cup (2006-2007) in a match vs Mes Kerman, Daei announced his retirement from playing club football and that he would concentrate on his coaching career.[12]

Notable matches

International career

Daei was called up to join Team Melli on 6 June 1993 in an ECO Cup tournament held in Tehran, where he made his debut for Iran against Pakistan. He continued his national team appearances and was named the top scorer of the final Asian round of 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifications with 4 goals in 5 matches.

Criticism and controversy

Despite criticism, Daei played in the 2006 FIFA World Cup; the criticisms, however, were more so toward his fitness and the inability for younger players to play a part in the World Cup. From Iranian media calling for his retirement, Ali Daei has always defended his position in Team Melli and has rejected that he was too old to play for the team.[13][14]

Playing career statistics

Club career statistics

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1994–95 Persepolis Azadegan
18 15 - - - - 18 15
1995–96 14 4 - - - - 14 4
1996–97 6 4 0 0 4 2 121 6
Total Club 38 23 0 0 4 2 441 25
Qatar League Emir of Qatar Cup Asia Total
1996–97 Al-Sadd Qatari League 16 10 2 0 - - 18 10
Germany League DFB-Pokal Europe Total
1997–98 Arminia Bielefeld Bundesliga 25 7 1 0 - - 26 7
1998–99 Bayern Munich 23 6 4 0 4 0 31 6
1999–00 Hertha BSC 28 3 2 0 13 4 43 7
2000–01 23 3 2 0 5 2 30 5
2001–02 8 0 3 0 1 0 12 0
United Arab Emirates League President's Cup Asia Total
2002–03 Al-Shabab UAE League 25 11 - -
Iran League Hazfi Cup Asia Total
2003–04 Persepolis Pro League 24 16 2 0 - - 26 16
2004–05 Saba Battery 25 12 5 3 - - 30 15
2005–06 26 11 2 2 6 5 352 202
2006–07 Saipa 26 10 1 0 - - 27 10
Total Iran 139 72 10 5 10 7 159 84
Qatar 16 10 2 0 - - 18 10
Germany 107 19 12 0 23 6 142 25
United Arab Emirates 25 11 - -
Career total 287 112 243 53 34 13 3433 1293
Season Team Assists
05/06 Saba Battery 4
06/07 Saipa 2

National team statistics

Iran national team
Year Apps Goals
1993 16 7
1994 1 0
1995 0 0
1996 18 22
1997 17 9
1998 13 9
1999 5 2
2000 19 20
2001 16 10
2002 4 2
2003 9 5
2004 16 17
2005 9 4
2006 6 2
Total 149 109

International goals

Daei was named the world's top scorer in official international competitions by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), having scored 20 goals in competitive matches for Iran in 1996, including his famous 4 goal haul against South Korea in Asian Cup 1996. By the end of the 1996 Asian Cup, he had scored 29 goals in 38 appearances for Iran. In the 1998 World Cup qualifying campaign, he was again on top of the charts, scoring 9 goals in 17 matches for Iran, reaching his impressive record of 38 goals in 52 appearances for his country. He is ranked first in most goals in international matches.

Century of international goals

Ali Daei joined the exclusive circle of players with a century of caps. In a 28 November 2003 Asian Cup qualifier in Tehran against Lebanon, he scored his 85th international goal, elevating him past Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás to top the all-time list of scorers in international matches. On 17 November 2004, he scored four goals against Laos in a World Cup qualifier, giving him 102 goals and making him the first male player to score 100 goals in international play. He has 149 caps for Iran and are ranked among the top 12 of world's most capped players.

Coaching career


On 8 October 2006, upon sudden leave of Saipa's German coach Werner Lorant, he was appointed as the interim coach of Saipa.[16] He was later officially announced as the full-time head coach. On 28 May, Saipa became the Persian Gulf Cup champions in Daei's first season at the helm. Going into his second season as manager Daei relinquished his playing duties for the defending champions and found himself on the sidelines full-time. The results of Saipa's 2007–2008 campaign were not nearly as successful as his team finished 11th in the 18 team Iran Pro League table. However Daei did lead Saipa to an Asian Champions League quarterfinal birth before leaving to take over as the full-time manager of the Iranian National Football Team.

Iran national football team

On 2 March 2008 IRIFF officially appointed Ali Daei as Team Melli's new head coach. Despite admitting that his appointment as manager of the Iranian national team was a "surprise",[17] Daei refused to leave his current coaching job at Saipa F.C., therefore taking on dual managerial careers until after Saipa had entered the Asian Champion League quarterfinals, after which Daei left Saipa by mutual consent. While Daei guided Iran to a respectable 16–6–3 mark, his third loss on 28 March 2009 to a Saudi Arabian team that was down 1–0 to Iran in Tehran proved to be the final straw. During his tenure as the National Team coach, the Iranian team managed the weakest World Cup Qualification results in its history with only one win out of 5 WCQ games. After the loss in the 2010 World Cup Qualifier, Daei was fired as head coach after the match. While introducing many new players such as Gholamreza Rezaei, and Ehsan Hajysafi, Daei's squad was often in flux as to who would be invited to a fixture. As well, many critics pointed towards the failures of Daei's team to score and an unsolved weakness in the central defense as causes for his downfall.


Daei coaching Persepolis in match against Naft Tehran, 23 August 2013

In 2009, Daei turned down a job offer as manager of Rah Ahan.[18] It was widely believed that Daei could be next in-line for the coaching position of Persepolis but the club chose Zlatko Kranjčar. On 28 December 2009 Daei was chosen as coach of Persepolis. At the end of the 2009–10 Season, Persepolis finished fourth in the league but they became Hazfi Cup champions. In the Hazfi Cup final, Persepolis defeated Azadegan League side Gostaresh Foolad Tabriz 4–1 on aggregate to qualify for the 2011 AFC Champions League. In the 2010–11 season, Persepolis finished fourth in the league and was eliminated in the group stage of the 2011 AFC Champions League but at the end of the season Persepolis won the 2010–11 Hazfi Cup after defeating rivals Sepahan, Foolad and Malavan. Daei had many people against him while at Persepolis including the chairman Habib Kashani and after a contention with Kashani, he stated that "I won't work with Kashani Anymore".[19] On 20 June 2011, Technical committee of Perspolis re-appointed Daei as Persepolis's head coach[20] but he resigned on 21 June.[21] The technical committee chose Hamid Estili as Daei's successor on that day.[22] During his time at Persepolis, Daei brought up many youngsters such as Hamidreza Ali Asgari and Saman Aghazamani and other players such as Hadi Norouzi and Maziar Zare were chosen for Team Melli thanks to Daei. Despite the fact that many challenges and difficulties such as the leaders of fans and the clubs' Chairman Kashani were in Daei's way, Persepolis was crowned Hazfi Cup Champions for two successive years and the fans themselves always loved and cheered Daei but at the same time they did not cheer for any player. Under the management of Daei, Persepolis won back to back trophies for the first time in 13 seasons.

Rah Ahan

On 14 July 2011, Daei signed a one-year contract as head coach of Rah Ahan.[23] In his first match as head coach of Rah Ahan, he made a 2–2 draw with Zob Ahan. In his first season as Rah Ahan's head coach, he led the club to the 11th position.

During the 2012–13 season Ali Daei used many young players such as Mojtaba Shiri and Omid Alishah, and Rah Ahan finished the season in the 8th place which was the clubs' best finish in the league since 1937. Thanks to Daei's popularity, more people started to watch Rah Ahan's matches, and for the second straight year, Daei was able to beat his former club Persepolis.

Despite many rumors that Daei will leave Rah Ahan for other clubs such as Persepolis or Tractor Sazi, he decided to stay with the club "to build a team that can qualify for the AFC Champions League." However, his contract was terminated on 20 May 2013, making ways for him to become head coach of Persepolis.

Return to Persepolis

On 20 May 2013, he signed a three years contract to become head coach of Persepolis after a long negotiations.[24] It is the second time that he signs with Persepolis, returns to his former side after two seasons. He officially began his work with Persepolis on 1 June 2013. His first match came against Tractor Sazi, which Persepolis won 1–0 with goal from Mehdi Seyed Salehi. At the end of his first year at Persepolis, his side finished as runner-up, two points less than winner Foolad.

He was sacked on 10 September 2014 after a poor start of 2014–15 season.[25]

Coaching career statistics

As of 31 October 2015
Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA +/- Win %
Saipa 1 October 2006 1 June 2008 67 27 21 19 77 69 +8 40.30
Iran 1 March 2008 30 March 2009 25 16 6 3 42 15 +27 64.00
Persepolis 28 December 2009 22 June 2011 64 33 14 17 94 71 +23 51.56
Rah Ahan 14 July 2011 31 May 2013 69 21 25 23 80 79 +1 30.43
Persepolis 1 June 2013 10 September 2014 40 20 11 9 49 26 +23 50.00
Saba Qom 1 July 2015 Present 13 5 6 2 13 10 +3 38.46
Total 279 122 84 73 357 270 +87 43.73

Coaching style

Ali Daei's teams usually play a 4–2–3–1 System with a lot of emphasis on keeping the ball. He is well known for trusting youngsters having unveiled many of Iran's most talented players such as, Karim Ansarifard, Saman Aghazamani, Hamidreza Aliasgari, Omid Alishah, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Mojtaba Shiri and many more. He has a fiery temperament which usually gets him and his team in trouble.



Bayern Munich
Saba Battery






Beyond football

Personal character

Asides from his great sportsmanship on the pitch, Daei ran many charitable organisations and used a great deal of his money in support of the less fortunate. Today Daei owns his own football jersey manufacturing company called

Daei featured on 18 July 2007 in 90 Minutes for Mandela, a match between the Africa XI and the Rest of World XI to celebrate the birthday of Nelson Mandela.[27] Daei played approximately 10 minutes in the match which ended 3–3.

Personal life

Besides his footballing career, Ali Daei also owns Daei Sport, his company provides clothing for several Iranian football clubs and previously for the Iran national football team. In 2005, he married a former classmate from Sharif University in a lavish ceremony in north of Tehran in which many of his fans were standing in the nearby streets to cheer him. Some of the photos of his wedding ceremony were later published without his permission that caused a controversy inside the country. He has funded a sports complex in his home city of Ardabil called the Ali Daei Sports Complex that opened in May 2008.


On 17 March 2012, Daei's car overturned as he was driving back to Tehran (from Isfahan). Just prior, his team, Rah Ahan was beaten by the Sepahan team. Daei was then transferred to a hospital near Kashan. Rah Ahan's Media Officer, Hossein Ghadousi stated that "Daei is in a stable condition with regards to his vital signs and is not currently in any acute danger as a result of the accident".[28] He was transferred to Laleh hospital in Tehran the following day.

A statement from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said: "The AFC wishes Iranian legend Ali Daei, who was involved in a car accident on Saturday, a speedy and full recovery. We stand ready to assist Daei, who is a true icon of Asian football. Our thoughts and prayers are with him."[29]

Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, said on his personal Twitter page that he was shocked to hear Daei was injured. He also sent his best wishes for his recovery.[30]


On 7 April 2008, Daei announced that he had begun writing an autobiography, due to be released in March 2010, and that despite reflecting on "bitter and sweet memories" he stated he would "keep some of his secrets in his heart forever".[31] The book has not yet been released.


  1. ^ "FIFA Football Committee". Retrieved 30 July 2007. 
  2. ^ حذف نام علی دایی از کمیته فوتبال فیفا (in Persian). Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Али Даеи на (in Russian). Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Али Даеи на новости "Яндекс" (in Russian). Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Азербайджанец на Евро-2008 (in Russian). 13 June 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Jafarov, T. (17 October 2009). "Footballer of Azerbaijani origin ranks first on number of goals". Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Iranian footballer of Azerbaijani descent among best scorers of 21st century". 10 July 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Jewels of the East - 5 Influential Asian Footballers". 18 September 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  9. ^ علي دايي با قراردادي يك ساله به تيم سايپا پيوست (in Persian).  
  10. ^ "Ali Daei suspended for 4 games".  
  11. ^ دايى: به فيفا شكايت مى كنيم (in Persian). Iran Varzeshi Newspaper. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2007. 
  12. ^ علي دايي رسما از فوتبال كناره‌گيري كرد (in Persian).  
  13. ^ "Iran's Daei denies he is past his best".  
  14. ^ دايي هنوز مهاجم اول تيم ملي است (in Persian). Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "Ali Daei – Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  16. ^ علي دايي : پس از مشورت با بزرگترها مربيگري تيم سايپا را قبول كردم (in Persian).  
  17. ^ "Ali Daei 'surprised' by Iran football coach job". Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2008. 
  18. ^ "Daei says no to Rah Ahan". 15 April 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  19. ^ دايي: جواب خود را قبلا به مسوولان باشگاه داده ام [Ali Daei leaves Persepolis] (in Persian). 14 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Iran's Daei remained as Perspolis boss". 20 June 2011. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  21. ^ دايي شرط كميته فني باشگاه پرسپوليس را رد كرد (in Persian). 21 June 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  22. ^ استيلي سرمربي تيم فوتبال پرسپوليس شد (in Persian). 21 June 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  23. ^ علي_‌دايي_سرمربي_راه‌آهن_شد [Ali Daei becomes head coach of Rah Ahan] (in Persian). 14 July 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  24. ^ علی دایی سرمربی پرسپولیس شد [Official: Ali Daei is head coach of Persepolis] (in Persian). Persepolis FC. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  25. ^ سياسي برکناري دايي را تاييد کرد [Official: سياسي برکناري دايي را تاييد کرد] (in Persian). 9 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Top 10 International Goal Scorers – 2000".  
  27. ^ "Stars named for Mandela match". BBC. 12 July 2007. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007. 
  28. ^ برای دایی دعا کنید/ ماشن او چپ کرد وبه بیمارستان رفت. (in Persian). 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  29. ^ "Iran great Daei hurt in car crash". 19 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  30. ^ "Blatter send best wishes to Daei". (in Persian). 19 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  31. ^ "Iran's Ali Daei to publish memoirs". PRESS TV. Retrieved 27 April 2008. 

External links

  • Ali Daei at
  • RSSSF archive of Ali Daei's century of international appearances and goals
  • Video Archive of Ali Daei
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Javad Zarincheh
Iran national football team captain
Succeeded by
Mehdi Mahdavikia
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