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As a 27-year-old he came to Europe, now he impresses in the Champions League and they want him to be powerful. “It can mess up at the World Cup”

As a 27-year-old he came to Europe, now he impresses in the Champions League and they want him to be powerful. “It can mess up at the World Cup”

He has played in the Iranian league for most of his career. Later, he had an episode in Qatar and only entered Europe as a 27-year-old. Mehdi Taremi from FC Porto has blossomed quite late, but is having a great time today. His goals made the “Dragons” win a group in the Champions League. Next destination? Make a mess at the World Cup.

He was born in Buszehr, an Iranian city of over 220,000 inhabitants. He dealt with football from an early age. His father played as a defender, but never made a great career. He himself, at the age of 10, joined the first club – Bargh FC.

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Seen by a legend

Four years later, he took another step. He joined the ranks of the much more famous Ivan-Javahr Buszehr. He spent eight years there, and finally caught the eye of one of the legends of Iranian football. Ali Daei, who scored 109 goals for his national team in the past, spotted him. Only Cristiano Ronaldo can boast a better result today. The Portuguese in the national colors scored 117 goals.

Daei was then head coach of Persepolis FC, one of the biggest clubs in Iran. The legendary striker decided to bring Taremi to his team.

It seemed strange at the time. Taremi was relatively unknown with no soccer experience at the highest level – you can read on the portal “iranwire.com”.

Week after week, however, his name meant more and more in the country. He finally represented the club’s colors from Persepolis in 2014-2018. During that time, he played 112 matches and scored as many as 55 goals. To this day, he ranks second in the history of the most effective players of this team.

Would-be transfer to Turkey and ban from FIFA

Taremi may have left Iran several years earlier. In 2016, he was in agreement with the Turkish Rizespor. He even signed the relevant documents, but eventually… changed his mind and decided to stay in Persepolis.

For breaking the rules, he was fined a four-month suspension by FIFA, and his club was fined two windows with no transfer options. Persepolis had to do without a star in the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League. Failed with a misfortune.

After the ban expired, Taremi did not return to play for the Iranian club. In early January 2018, he joined Qatar’s Al-Gharafa FC. There he was doing well for a year and a half. In 37 games, he scored 16 goals and nine assists.

A great start in Europe

He came to Europe extremely late, only at the age of 27. It is no secret that the greatest talents, even from those very distant countries, usually start their careers on the Old Continent faster. However, Taremi showed that “better late than never”. In the summer of 2019, he signed a contract with the Portuguese Rio Ave and immediately became not only the star of the team, but also one of the best players in the entire league.

He started with a goal on his debut. His team faced the League Cup against UD Oliveirense. He appeared on the pitch in the 64th minute, and a moment later he raised to 5: 1. He also had a strong start in the league. The first time he came out in the regular squad, he scored a hat-trick against Aves straight away. A week later, he made three assists against Sporting, and Rio Ave sensationally beat the clear favorite. It is hard to imagine a better entry into the team.

Throughout the season, Taremi played 37 matches and scored 21 goals in them. He gathered most of them in the league competition. 18 hits gave him the title of the best scorer in the tournament (ex aequo with the two representing Benfica – Pizzi and Carlos Vinicius. However, the award officially went to the Brazilian).

What is not without significance, the Iranian showed his great side against the background of all Portuguese giants:

  • three assists with Sporting CP,
  • FC Porto goal (draw)
  • goal with Benfica,
  • two goals with Braga,

Porto’s golden deal

The champion of the country from that campaign – FC Porto – immediately reached for the freshly crowned top scorer of the Portuguese league in the 2019/20 season. Interestingly, the Iranian cost them less than 5 million euros. Today it is valued at four times as much.

If anyone was afraid whether Taremi, still relatively inexperienced in the game at a very high level, would manage in the best Portuguese team at the time, he quickly lost his doubts. Among the more qualitative teammates, the Iranian striker was able to show even more. He shone not only as a shooter, but also as an assistant. In his first season for Porto, he scored 23 goals and made 18 decisive passes.

Taremi also made his first appearances in the Champions League, where he scored goals in the 1/8 and 1/4 final matches against Juventus and Chelsea. This last hit, of a great beauty, was nominated for the Puskas Award for the most beautiful goal scored in 2021. The Iranian was in the final three, but ultimately had to recognize Erik Lamela’s superiority.

In the next season – 2021/22 – Taremi did not lose his tone at all. He maintained his excellent form and ended the game with a balance of 26 goals and 17 assists. Now he has started to add better and better figures in the Champions League to his portfolio. While he was able to shine in single matches before, in the current edition he was one of the best players in the entire group stage, which was reflected in our chosen top eleven of this phase of the Champions League. You will find her HERE.

Five goals and two assists. And this despite the pause in one of the games against Club Brugge. Such a result puts Tary at the forefront of the ranking of the best scorers and at the top of the Canadian classification of the most elite club competitions in Europe.

Will it flash at the World Cup?

However, Taremi is not only FC Porto, but also the Iranian national team. The goal of the goal forward in the national team was already in 2015. The selector, just like now, was Carlos Queiroz. Today, the current “Dragons” player has 60 matches played in the national team, in which he scored 27 goals.

However, the adventure with the national team did not always go according to the player’s wishes. Just over a year ago, Taremi had a quarrel with the then national team coach – Dragan Skocic. The striker publicly replied to the coach’s words that Iranian players had tactical problems. The Porto forward insisted that “the problem lies elsewhere”. He was then called for an interview, but he did not attend. As a result, Skocić did not call him up for the qualifying matches for the World Cup with Syria and Lebanon.

However, the battle ax was quickly buried. Taremi returned to the team, but today he does not have to cooperate with Skocic, who was replaced by the aforementioned Queiroz.

In a few weeks the 30-year-old footballer will have a chance to appear at the World Cup for the second time in his career. In Qatar, he will certainly be one of the leaders of the team that will fight in a group with England, the USA and Wales. Four years ago, the Iranians fought to the last seconds with Portugal for promotion to the knockout stage, though without a happy end. It was Taremi who had the match ball, the importance of eliminating the then European champions. In a good situation, however, he hit next to the post.

The Qatari championship may be an additional window for Taremi. If he shows himself very well there, maybe he will take the next step in his career. Porto likes to promote and sell (expensive). And there is no shortage of interested parties now. It is said, inter alia, about Chelsea or Arsenal.

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