Javad Nekounam

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Javad Nekounam
Iran vs. Angola 2014-05-30 (162).jpg
Nekounam with Iran in 2014
Personal information
Full name Javad Nekounam
Date of birth (1980-09-07) 7 September 1980 (age 34)
Place of birth Rey, Iran
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Osasuna
Number 6
Youth career
Naft Tehran
Pas
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2005 Pas 179 (45)
2005–2006 Al-Wahda 11 (3)
2006 Al-Sharjah 11 (5)
2006–2012 Osasuna 149 (24)
2012–2014 Esteghlal 44 (8)
2014 Al-Kuwait 11 (7)
2014– Osasuna 2 (1)
National team
1998–2000 Iran U–20
1999–2002 Iran U–23 10 (2)
2000– Iran 143 (37)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:16, 11 September 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18:01, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Javad Nekounam (Persian: جواد نکونام‎; born 7 September 1980) is an Iranian professional footballer who plays for Osasuna, and is the current captain of Iran. Usually a central midfielder, he is known for his passing ability, defensive acumen and powerful long-range shots.[citation needed]

He spent most of his professional career with Pas and Spain's Osasuna, appearing in 174 official games and scoring 26 goals for the latter.

Nicknamed Neku,[1] Nekounam represented the Iranian national team over 140 times, playing several major tournaments including two World Cups and three Asian Cups. As he shines for Esteghlal, he was among the Asian Dream Team 2013 and he was also runner-up for the Asian Footballer of the Year in 2013, finishing two votes behind winner Zheng Zhi.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Nekounam was born in Rey. Having played for Pas Tehran F.C. for several years, appearing in the AFC Champions League with the club, he signed a five-month contract with Al-Wahda S.C.C. in the United Arab Emirates for US$1 million, in 2005.[2]

In January 2006 Nekounam joined another club in the country, Al Sharjah SC, although some European clubs such as 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Tottenham Hotspur had shown interest in him.[3]

Osasuna[edit]

2006-07[edit]

After his performance at the 2006 World Cup many clubs in Europe were in the running to sign Nekounam, mainly Hertha BSC of the Bundesliga and Ligue 1's Olympique Lyonnais, but he eventually joined La Liga side CA Osasuna on a two-year contract,[4] with an option to a third year and a 5 million minimum release-fee clause on his contract. He thus became the first Iranian player to be signed by a Spanish club[5] and, after a particularly successful first season, began to attract interest from other European clubs noticeably Scotland's Rangers, who had a £1 million pound offer rejected.[6]

Nekounam made his club debut on 9 September 2006 in a match against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Osasuna lost the match 3-0.

Nekounam scored his first goal with Osasuna on 17 December 2006 in a match against Villarreal, he scored in the 42nd minute to put the score to 2-0 for Osasuna. Nekounam scored again on 27 May 2007 against Real Sociedad

2007-08[edit]

On 14 August Nekounam suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture in his right knee[7] and, after undergoing a successful surgery in Augsburg, Germany, missed four months of action. His number 24 was given to new signing Jaroslav Plašil, as he recovered from his injury.

On 24 November 2007, Osasuna showed faith in Nekounam signing a three-year contract extension on his existing contract that was set to end on 30 June of the following year, with a €5 million buy-out clause for the first two seasons and €2.5M for the last.[8] In February of the following year he made his first training appearance since the injury – incidentally, a week later, Xavier Margairaz suffered a similar injury, missing an estimate period that could amount to one year, on 27 April he made his long-awaited return against Valencia CF, replacing Francisco Puñal in the 70th minute of a 0–3 away loss.

2008-09[edit]

On 31 August 2008 Nekounam scored Osasuna's first goal of the season, from the penalty spot in a 1–1 home draw against Villarreal CF.[9] In November/December he also netted, but the Navarrese failed to win at Málaga CF (2–4)[10] and with Real Valladolid (3–3),[11] also scoring the opener against Real Madrid, in a 1–3 away loss on 18 January 2009.[12]

On 22 March 2009 Nekounam netted a last-minute goal against RCD Espanyol for a 1–0 home win,[13] and finished the season as Osasuna's second goalscorer behind Walter Pandiani, scoring nine times in the league (a career-best in Spain). In the 2009 summer the team received offers from both Espanyol and Villarreal, with the latter in particular being ready to pay the buy-out clause in Nekounam's contract; however, the player repeatedly insisted to be "happy at the club", waiting until he "hears some better deals".[14][15]

2010-11[edit]

Nekounam was again a regular starter for Osasuna in the 2010–11 campaign, but also spent one month at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup with his national team. On 20 February 2011, in the second game upon his return from Qatar, he scored his first brace for Osasuna in a 4–0 home win against Espanyol.[16] He scored again on 13 March 2011 in a 3-1 victory against Racing Santander Nekounam eventually finished the campaign with six goals in 26 appearances, and again helped his team avoid relegation.

2011-12[edit]

On 21 May 2011 Nekounam renewed his contract with Osasuna for another two seasons, with the option of an annual renewal of his link.[17] In July of the following year, amidst interest from Iranian powerhouse Esteghlal F.C. and unnamed Turkish and Qatari clubs, it was reported that he would only remain with the Rojillos if he accepted a salary reduction – he was the highest-paid player.[18] Nekounam refused the pay cut and instead signed with Iranian club Esteghlal.

Esteghlal[edit]

Nekounam playing for Esteghlal in a Champions League match against Al-Ain

On 21 July 2012, aged almost 32, Nekounam returned to his country and signed a two-year contract with Esteghlal, for a record fee of $9,500,000 USD, which made him the most expensive player in the Iran Pro League history.[19][20] He scored his first goal for his new club in a 2–3 loss against Foolad, through a penalty.

On 5 May 2013, against the same opponent, he again scored from the penalty spot, helping his team secure its 28th league title[21] and winning his second domestic championship in Iran.

Al-Kuwait[edit]

On 14 January 2014, Nekounam agreed to a four-month deal with Kuwait SC.[22] He scored his first goal for the club on 2 February, netting the only in an AFC Champions League qualifier against Al Shorta SC.

Nekounam scored three goals in the 2014 edition of the AFC Cup,[23] and also won the season's Kuwait Emir Cup.[24] Nekounam score 14 goals in 24 games for Kuwait SC before leaving the club.

Return to Osasuna[edit]

On 4 August 2014, Nekounam returned to Osasuna by signing a two-year contract.[25] He scored in his first game upon his return against Deportivo Alavés on 6 September.[26]

International career[edit]

Nekounam received his first call-up to Iran in May 2000. He became a starter for the national side during the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and, already a key midfield element, played in two of the national team's matches during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, being suspended for the final group game against Angola after his second yellow card against Portugal.

Additionally, Nekounam helped Iran win the 2002 Asian Games and the 2004 West Asian Football Federation Championship, and also represented the country in the 2004, 2007 and 2011 Asian Cups.[27] He was Team Melli's leading goalscorer in its successful 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign and, on 1 June 2014, he was called up as captain by Carlos Queiroz for the finals in Brazil.[28] He captained Iran in their three matches, where they were eliminated in the group stages.

International goals[edit]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Pas
Esteghlal
Al-Kuwait

Country[edit]

Individual[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 9 September 2014[29]
Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Iran League Hazfi Cup Asia Total
1998–99 Pas Azadegan League 23 2
1999–00 24 5
2000–01 21 5
2001–02 Iran Pro League 25 4
2002–03 25 7
2003–04 25 10
2004–05 25 9 8 4
2005–06 12 3 0 0 12 3
United Arab Emirates League President's Cup Asia Total
2005–06 Al-Wahda UAE League 11 3 0 0 11 3
Al-Sharjah 11 5 3 3 14 8
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
2006–07 Osasuna La Liga 24 2 3 0 11 1 38 3
2007–08 2 0 0 0 2 0
2008–09 35 8 2 0 37 8
2009–10 31 3 2 0 33 3
2010–11 26 6 2 0 28 6
2011–12 31 5 5 1 36 6
Iran League Hazfi Cup Asia Total
2012–13 Esteghlal Iran Pro League 27 5 4 1 8 3 39 9
2013–14 17 3 1 0 3 0 22 3
Kuwait League Emir Cup Asia Total
2013–14 Al-Kuwait Kuwaiti Premier League 11 7 2 0 10 7 24 14
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
2014–15 Osasuna Segunda Division 1 1 1 0 2 1
Total Iran 217 53 18 7
United Arab Emirates 22 8 3 3 25 11
Spain 150 25 15 1 12 1 177 27
Kuwait 7 1 2 0 7 5 16 6
Career total 396 86 33 11

International[edit]

As of 25 June 2014
Nekounam before a friendly-match vs. Montenegro in 2014

[27]

Iran
Year Apps Goals
2000 7 0
2001 11 0
2002 9 0
2003 11 1
2004 18 7
2005 11 4
2006 11 2
2007 8 4
2008 8 4
2009 8 2
2010 6 1
2011 10 5
2012 9 1
2013 8 6
2014 8 0
Total 143 37

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "World Cup 2014: Player profile – who is Javad Nekounam, the Iran midfielder?". The Independent. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Nekounam states Euro ambition". Sky Sports. Retrieved 7 April 2007. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Buh, Bye". The Guardian. 10 July 2007. 
  4. ^ "Osasuna sign Javad Nekounam". Persian Football. Retrieved 7 July 2006. [dead link]
  5. ^ Javad Nekounam – Osasuna's new star
  6. ^ Gers miss out on Iranian ace; Sky Sports
  7. ^ Nekounam sidelined at Osasuna; UEFA.com, 16 August 2007
  8. ^ Javad Nekounam renueva su contrato hasta 2011 (Javad Nekounam renews contract until 2011); Osasuna's official website, 24 November 2007 (Spanish)
  9. ^ "Osasuna 1–1 Villarreal". ESPN Soccernet. 31 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Málaga 4–2 Osasuna". ESPN Soccernet. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "Osasuna 3–3 Valladolid". ESPN Soccernet. 7 December 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Real Madrid 3–1 Osasuna". ESPN Soccernet. 18 January 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Osasuna 1–0 Espanyol". ESPN Soccernet. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Javad Nekounam not interested in leaving Osasuna; Goal.com, 21 June 2009
  15. ^ Villarreal looking to recruit Iran's Nekounam; Press TV, 17 June 2009
  16. ^ "Nekounam at the double". ESPN Soccernet. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  17. ^ Iranian duo to stay at Osasuna; Persian Football, 31 May 2011
  18. ^ Javad Nekounam could stay at Osasuna if he accepts pay cut; Goal.com, 9 July 2012
  19. ^ "Javad Nekounam officially joins Esteghlal". Kabir News. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "گرانقیمت ترین بازیکن تاریخ فوتبال ایران با رقم قراداد 4.5 میلیارد تومان!" [Javade Nekoonam: The most expensive player in the history of football in Iran with 9 million dollars contract] (in Farsi). Jam News. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  21. ^ Esteghlal won the league; Goal.com, 5 May 2013 (Persian)
  22. ^ الإيراني نيكونام كويتاي رسمياً; Kuwait Club's official website, 14 January 2014 (Persian)
  23. ^ "Javad Nekonam". The AFC. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  24. ^ One more trophy for Nekounam in his club career; Persian Football, 8 May 2014
  25. ^ "Javad Nekounam está en Pamplona" (in Espanish). Official website of Osasuna. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  26. ^ http://www.persianfootball.com/news/2014/09/06/nekounam-scores-in-osasuna-comeback/
  27. ^ a b Javad Nekounam – Century of International Appearances; at RSSSF
  28. ^ "Queiroz trims Iran squad to 24". FIFA.com. 1 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  29. ^ "J. Nekounam". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mehdi Mahdavikia
Iran national football team captain
2009–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent