Iran Soccer Player Retires at 23, Cites ‘Unkindness, Insults’ from Fans

Iran's Sardar Azmoun is consoled at the end of the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Spain won 1-0. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP/Frank Augstein

Criticism from disappointed fans has forced Iranian player Sardar Azmoun to retire from international football aged just 23 and enable him to spend more time with his mother.

Azmoun drew abuse after he failed to deliver in last week’s Group B World Cup game against Spain, failing to carry the form that made him a rising Iran star with 11 goals in qualification for the finals in Russia.

The striker, who made his debut for Iran at the age of 19, said the consequent “insults” had caused his mother’s fragile health to deteriorate and he had decided to retire from the national squad to spare her further upset.

He said: “My mother had overcome serious illness and I was happy.

“Unfortunately because of the unkindness of some people, and the insults that me and my team-mates in no way deserved, her illness has become severe.”

مادرم ، حرف سنگينيه نميتونم راجبش هيچ حرفى بزنم از بس كه دل مادران درياس ، فرشته ى روى زمين ، هر موقع ميخواستم مادر بنويسم اشك تو چشمام جم ميشه:hearts: مادرى كه بايد قدرشو دونست ، مادرى كه واسه همتون دعا ميكنه ، بعد از خدا فقط به تو سجده ميكنم مادرم ، مرسى كه موقعه اى كه اون مجرى و برخى مردمان دلم رو شكستن و تهمت زدن كنارم بودى و بخشش رو واسم ياد دادى:hearts: دوست دارم :hearts: از تمامى كسايى كه غم از دست دادن مادرشون هستن از اين پست عذرخواهى ميكنم مادر من انگار مادر شماست و واسه همتون دعا ميكنه من جز دعا كردن واسه مادرتون نميتونم كارى انجام بدم :hearts::pray::skin-tone-2: دوستون دارم:hearts: عكس هاى منو مادرم هم مثل خيليا خاكيه جاهاى لاكچرى نميگيريم پس خاكيانه دوستون دارم:hearts:happy women day

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Expectations in Iran had been raised by Iran’s opening victory over Morocco, which sparked exuberant celebrations on the streets of Tehran.

Iran will now leave the World Cup at the completion of the pool rounds.

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