One of Iran’s all-time greats, midfielder Ali Karimi, has retired at the age of 35.
Karimi made the announcement on Sunday following a stellar career that included over a century of caps for Iran and two seasons at Bayern Munich.
Karimi who played for Tehran giants Persepolis three times during his 18-year professional career, most recently turned out in the colours of Tractor Sazi, having also played overseas in Qatar, United Arab Emirates and briefly for Germany’s Schalke.
“All I have is due to the help of God and the support of my fans,” Karimi wrote in a letter addressed to the fans. “The fans will always stay in my heart. I’m not sad because I couldn’t spend the last season of my career at my favourite team, Persepolis.”
Karimi was capped 117 times for Team Melli since making his debut in 1998 against Kuwait, scoring 38 international goals. He featured in four FIFA World Cup™ campaigns, highlighted by two appearances for the national team at Germany 2006. He is Iran’s third most capped player – a list headed by the iconic Ali Daei – and is the nation’s third highest scorer.