Mahdavikia as captain of Iran in 2007
|Full name||Mehdi Mahdavikia|
|Date of birth||24 July 1977|
|Place of birth||Tehran, Iran|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Right Back, Right Midfielder / Winger|
|1998–1999||→ VfL Bochum (loan)||12||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Mehdi Mahdavikia (Persian: مهدی مهدویکیا, born 24 July 1977 in Tehran) is a retired Iranian football player who played for Persepolis, Hamburg SV, Eintracht Frankfurt, Steel Azin, Damash Gilan and also Iran national football team. He has won Asian Young Footballer of the Year award in 1997, as well as Asian Footballer of the Year in 2003. He was the captain of the Iran national football team from 2006 to 2009, and currently is the fourth most capped Iranian International after Ali Daei, Javad Nekounam and Ali Karimi. As a product of Bank Melli, he joined Persepolis and after his performance in FIFA World Cup 1998, he was transferred to Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga, where he played for eight seasons. He usually plays as a right winger or full-back. He is known for his crossing, speed and dribbling. He announced his retirement on 14 March 2013 from football world. His last match as a football player was against Sepahan in Hazfi Cup final on 5 May 2013.
Mahdavikia first played for Persepolis club in his native Iran before moving to VfL Bochum in Germany. After Bochum's relegation, he signed for Bundesliga side Hamburg where he stayed for the next eight seasons.
His initial position for HSV was right fullback, from which he was known for his attacking runs, as he has previous experience as a right winger and at times has played as a striker. He also played some matches for Pas in Asian games as help for the club. Mahdavikia under coach Frank Pagelsdorf used to play wide striker. For the 2006–07 Bundesliga season he has moved back to his natural position of right wing, in support of Center Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart. He was awarded Hamburg Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004 by the fans, and also attained the envious title of the top assister of goals in the Bundesliga. However, compared to his previous season, he had a poor season in 2004–05 and was benched. In the 2005–06 season he has gained his old form back and was able to regain his spot as a starter, being influential in many of Hamburg's victories, such as scoring the winning goal against Bundesliga heavyweights Schalke.
Mahdavikia's strongest points are his vision, passing skills, fast paced runs (his nickname in Iran is "The Rocket" ), and set-pieces such as corners, spotkicks and free kicks. He is usually the right-footed alternative to Van der Vaart's well known left foot. Apart from being a total professional on the pitch, he is also known as a perfect gentleman off the pitch, always finding the time for fans and reporters to answer questions or sign autographs.
His nickname in Hamburg is The Carpet (der Teppich) for his ability to "magically glide past" his opponents like the enchanted carpet.
In his first season he had two bad injuries that forced him to miss many matches.In the second season he was mostly benched and not used in many matches which showed that the club did not want him anymore. After 255 Games (26 goals, 55 assists) in the Bundesliga for HSV, Bochum and Eintracht Frankfurt, left Germany to sign for Steel Azin in January 2010.
Return to Iran
On 4 July 2011, Mahdavikia signed a contract with Amir Abedini, President of the Damash Gilan to join to the club for one year but he was joined to his beloved club, Persepolis in mid-seasion to play for club in his last year of playing football. He extended his contract with Persepolis for another season on 19 June 2012.
On 2 March 2013, he announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2012–13 season. Persepolis also announced that Mahdavikia's farewell match will be in a pre-season friendly match against A.C. Milan in June 2013, played in Azadi Stadium, but it was latter announced that Mahdavikia's last match will be against his former side, Hamburger SV in June 2013 in the same stadium.
Mahdavikia confirmed on 14 March 2013 that he has ended his active football career. He played his last match as a football player in 2013 Hazfi Cup Final, coming on extra time as a substitute. On 28 November 2013, he played a farewell match at Azadi Stadium between Persepolis XI and A.C. Milan XI. Participants in the match included former teams' legends like Hamid Derakhshan, Mohammad Panjali, Farshad Pious, Karim Bagheri, Hamid Estili, Nasser Mohammadkhani, Pejman Jamshidi, Edmond Bezik which played for Persepolis and Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Daniele Massaro, Gennaro Gattuso and Alberigo Evani for A.C. Milan. Persepolis were managed by club's most successful manager Ali Parvin. When Mahdavikia came as a substitute in the 32nd minute, Pious gave his shirt to Mahdavikia, in a remarkable replay after seventeen years that Pious did so in Mahdavikia's first match for Persepolis. The match was won by A.C. Milan XI 3–1 with Mahdavikia assisting the only goal.
Club career statistics
- Last Update: 5 May 2013
|2009–10||Steel Azin||Pro League||8||2||3||2||–||11||4|
- Assist Goals
Having been awarded the Asian Young Footballer of the Year award in 1997, Mahdavikia was considered Iran's best player in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and was named in the list from which the team of the tournament was chosen. In 2003, he was awarded Asian Player of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation. He was also the top assister in the 2004 Asian Cup, exhibiting stunning form to steer Iran's attack to superb attacking football. He played in four Asian Cups (1996, 2000, 2004, 2007) and two World Cups (1998, 2006).
Mahdavikia was one of the influential players that played in Iran's crucial 1–0 victory over Bahrain to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany. Following the FIFA World Cup in Germany, 2006, Mahdavikia was expected to assume the role of Captain in the Iranian national side, replacing Ali Daei and Yahya Golmohammadi who had publicly announced their intention to retire after the tournament. Mahdavikia was given the captain's band on 16 August 2006 in an Asian Cup qualifier versus Syria.
Mahdavikia has reportedly been forced to "retire" from international football after wearing a green bracelet in the final World Cup 2010 qualification match against the Republic of Korea. The green bracelet was a sign of support for those protesting the highly contested Iranian presidential election. He was forced to retire from Team Melli after 13 years and playing in 2 World Cups (1998, 2006), 4 Asian Cups (1996, 2000, 2004, 2007), 1 Asian Games tournament (1998), 4 World Cup qualifying campaigns (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010), 3 Asian Cup qualifying campaigns (2000, 2004, 2007) and one AFC/OFC Cup.
|Iran national team|
|1||21 April 1997||Tabriz, Iran||Kenya||3–0||Win||Friendly|
|2||2 June 1997||Damascus, Syria||Maldives||17–0||Win||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|3||11 June 1997||Tehran, Iran||Maldives||9–0||Win||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|4||13 September 1997||Dalian, China||China PR||4–2||Win||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|5||13 September 1997||Dalian, China||China PR||4–2||Win||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|6||31 January 1998||Hong Kong, Hong Kong||Chile||1–1||Draw||Friendly|
|7||21 June 1998||Lyon, France||United States||2–1||Win||1998 FIFA World Cup|
|8||16 January 2000||Pasadena, USA||United States||1–1||Draw||Friendly|
|9||31 March 2000||Aleppo, Syria||Maldives||8–0||Win||2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification|
|10||12 October 2001||Tehran, Iran||Iraq||2–1||Win||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|11||18 February 2004||Tehran, Iran||Qatar||3–1||Win||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|12||30 March 2005||Pyongyang, North Korea||North Korea||2–0||Win||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|13||15 October 2008||Tehran, Iran||North Korea||2–1||Win||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
Awards and honours
- AFC Asian Cup
- AFC/OFC Cup Challenge: 2003
- Bank Melli F.C Golden Boot award: 1995
- Asian Young Footballer of the Year: 1997
- HSV Player of the Year: 2002–03 and 2003–04
- Asian Footballer of the Year: 2003
- Chosen as the best offensive winger of the Bundesliga in the 2002–03 season by kicker
- Hamburger SV Team of the Century: 2012
- Iran Football Federation Award of Honour: 2013
Mahdavikia is married to Sepideh and has a daughter, Asal.
In April 2006, Mahdavikia caused a stir when it came out he married a second wife named Samira while being in his native Iran, thus practising bigamy. He himself has stated that he made a "big mistake", was "lured into a trap" and ended the affair after a short while. As of May 2006, Mahdavikia plans to prosecute Samira for slander.
Mahdavikia's most prolific club match was Hamburger SV's match against Juventus in the Champions League. He was the impetus that rallied Hamburg back after being down 3–1 by scoring once, assisting one and winning a penalty for Hamburg that saw Hamburg take a 4–3 lead; Juve managed to equalise with an Inzaghi penalty.
Another famous game in the HSV shirt came in week 30 of the 2002–03 season. Mahdavikia scored one and assisted another two goals in Hamburg's 4–0 win over 1. FC Nuremberg. Kicker gave him a much rare perfect note of 1.0.
Mehdi's greatest national team match, arguably, was against South Korea in the 2004 Asia Cup where he assisted three goals in Iran's 4–3 win. Many also point to his dynamic game against the United States in World Cup 1998 that saw him score Iran's second and winning goal, as his best ever. Another excellent match where he scored two great goals was against China in the qualification round for the 1998 World Cup when he was just 20 years old.
- "Mahdavikia scoops Asian best player award". FIFA. 11 December 2003. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- "Mahdavikia, Lili proud to play ambassador roles". the-afc.com. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "Eintracht denkt an Mahdavikia" [Eintracht thinks about Mahdavikia]. kicker.de (in German). 8 June 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
- "Mehdi Mahdavikia verlässt Eintracht Frankfurt" [Mehdi Mahdavikia leaves Eintracht Frankfurt] (in German). eintracht.de. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- مهدويكيا قراردادش را با داماش امضا كرد [Mahdavikia signs contract with Damash] (in Persian). 4 July 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- مهدوی کیا قراردادش را با پرسپولیس سفید امضاء کرد [Mahdavikia extended contract with Persepolis] (in Persian). fc-perspolis.com. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Mahdavikia will be played his last match against A.C. Milan" [Mahdavikia will be played his last match against A.C. Milan] (in Persian). dsport.ir. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- Robert Tait (23 June 2009). "Iran bans election protest footballers". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- "Reports: Iranian Soccer Stars Forced to 'Retire' Over Wristband Protest". foxnews.com. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Mamrud, Roberto (28 August 2009). "Mehdi Mahdavikia – Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "Bigamie in Bundesliga?" (in German). n-tv.de. 12 April 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
- Official website
- RSSSF archive of Mehdi Mahdavikia's international appearances
- Mehdi Mahdavikia at PersianLeague.com
- Mehdi Mahdavikia at TeamMelli.com