Ali Daei: Who is Ali Daei, why was Ali Daei wife prevented from leaving Iran, stats and record
Iranian football legend Ali Daei, one of the most influential figures in Iran, has claimed his family has been prevented from leaving the country after a commercial flight carrying them was reportedly rerouted.
His wife and daughter are said to have departed Tehran for Dubai via the Mahan Airline but shortly after take off the pilot was forced to land by security forces at Kish Airport in order to prevent them leaving Iran.
One of the most loved figures in Iranian football, Daei has been a vocal critic of the Iranian government and has voiced support to anti-government protests in the country. He previously called on the government to “solve the problems of the Iranian people rather than using repression, violence and arrests” via his social media account.
Daei had spoken out after protests took place across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini in September, a 22-year-old women arrested by wearing “inappropriate attire” under Iran’s interpretation of the Islamic dress code.
Another footballer, Iran international Amir Nasr-Azadani, is facing the death penalty after participating in nationwide protests.
Who is Ali Daei
Born in Iran on March 21 1969, Daei is widely regarded as the best Asian player of all time.
He began his football career at the age of 19 with his hometown club Esteghlala Ardabil but rose to prominence at Tehran-based side Bank Tejarat where he scored 49 goals in 75 games.
After joining Persepolis in 1994, he continued to blossom by scoring 23 goals in 38 games before moving to Al Sadd. However, his reputation boomed with a move to Bundesliga club Arminia Bielefeld, where he joined Iran team mate Karim Bagheri.
His form with Arminia earned him a move to German giant Bayern Munich, where he was signed by Ottmar Hitzfeld. Daei found game time hard to come by with Bayern though and he was largely limited to appearances from the bench with Carsten Jancker, Mario Basler and Giovane Élber preferred in attack. He did end the season on six goals though, despite his limited game time. With Bayern, Daei made history by becoming the first Asian player to play in the UEFA Champions League.
He spent further years in Germany performing for Hertha Berlin before returning to Asia in 2002. Daei later went on to manage the Iranian national team between 2008 and 2009 and held a respectable record of 16–6–3 though he sacked after a 1-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia in March 2009.
Ali Daei stats and record
The 53-year old former Iran striker and manager is second only to Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to goals scored at international level.
Widely known as Iran’s greatest ever player, he scored 109 international goals in 149 games for his country between the years 1993 and 2006. At club level, he represented clubs such as Al Sadd, Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich. He scored 112 goals in 287 during a professional career that spanned two decades.
With Bayern Munich, he was part of the squad that won the Bundesliga in 1998–99, the DFB-Ligapokal in 1998 and was a UEFA Champions League runner-up in 1999. He was named AFC Asian Footballer of the Year in 1999.
Why was Ali Daei wife and family taken off plane
Iranian site Irna said their flight had landed at Kish Island after being diverted and Ali Daei's wife and daughter were then seeing getting off the plane.
Mr Daei said the pair "were going to Dubai for a few days trip and back" and claimed "had they been banned (from leaving), the passport police system should have shown it. No-one has given me an answer about this."
However, it is claimed by Iran's state-run news agency Irna that Mona Farrokhazari, Daei’s wife, had agreed to inform Iranian officials before leaving the country, due to the couple's "association with the groups against the Islamic revolution".
Earlier this month, the former footballer’s jewellery shop and restaurant in Tehran was shut down by the judiciary, while Iranian authorities banned several celebrities, artists and prominent figures from leaving the country following their support for the mass protests.
Both the airline and the Iranian authorities declined to comment according to SkyNews.