Iran Knows How to Play in World Cup: Alireza Jahanbakhsh
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran national football team's winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh says they know how to play in the 2018 World Cup.
In an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, AZ Alkmaar man says they have been in drawn in toughest group in the FIFA World Cup along with Portugal, Spain and Morocco but they are determined to make Iranian people happy.
“Obviously this is the toughest group in the World Cup, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s showtime and we have nothing to lose. All three teams have a lot of quality and are top class, though I don’t think we are an easy opponent,” Jahanbakhsh explained.
“We know how to play and our coach will have us ready. The World Cup is a tournament where you can just be positive about it; we will do our best to make our people happy,” he added.
Jahanbakhsh also said ex-Iran Mehdi Mahdavikia is always his idol and mentor.
“Back when I was starting out in football, Mehdi was one of the greatest players in our national team. I got the opportunity to play with him at my old club in Iran – Damash Gilan – and he was such a great guy,” the 24-year-old stated.
While it would be a merging of stories that would only last six months on the banks of the Caspian Sea in 2011, the legend who made his name at the 1998 and 2006 FIFA World Cups was quick to take the youngster under his wing.
“I always tried to talk to him to get his opinions on football, about life, about everything – I would just keep asking questions [laughs]!” Jahanbakhsh recalled of the kind-natured legend.
“Mahdavikia was always nice to me, he always answered and just showed me the way he had passed through and he was an idol for me both on and off the field,” he said.