Shojaei in 2019
|Full name||Masoud Soleimani Shojaei|
|Date of birth||9 June 1984|
|Place of birth||Shiraz, Iran|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 June 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 June 2019
Masoud Soleimani Shojaei (Persian: مسعود سلیمانی شجاعی; born 9 June 1984) is an Iranian professional footballer who plays for Tractor. Mainly an attacking midfielder, he can also play as a winger or forward.
Shojaei was born in Shiraz, and lived most of his life in Abadan and Tehran. He started his career with Sanat Naft F.C. before moving to Saipa F.C. of Karaj in the Iran Pro League; having signed at the age of 19, he went on to play three seasons with the latter.
On 23 June 2008, after previous attempts from VfL Wolfsburg in Germany and Italy's S.S.C. Napoli, Shojaei signed with Spanish side CA Osasuna for three years, teaming up with compatriot Javad Nekounam. The deal included a €6 million buyout clause for the first 18 months of his contract, being reduced to €3.5 million for the remainder of his stay.
Shojaei made his La Liga debut on 31 August 2008, playing 32 minutes in a 1–1 home draw against Villarreal CF. During his first two seasons he appeared almost always as a substitute, as the Navarrese managed to maintain its division status; the player remained a regular even after the coaching change at the club, as José Ángel Ziganda was replaced by José Antonio Camacho.
Shojaei – who was addressed by his first name during his spell in Spain – appeared regularly again for Osasuna in the 2010–11 campaign, but also spent one month at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup with his national team. In late May he renewed his contract with the club for another two seasons, also having the option of an annual renewal of his link.
Shojaei spent the entire 2011–12 on the sidelines, due to injury. On 25 February 2013, in only his fourth appearance since returning, he scored a stunning goal to help Osasuna win it 2–0 at Levante UD.
On 3 September 2013, Shojaei moved clubs but stayed in Spain, joining Segunda División side UD Las Palmas on a one-year contract. He found the net in his debut, in a 3–1 away success over CE Sabadell FC for the Copa del Rey.
After the 2014 World Cup, Shojaei turned down an offer from Real Zaragoza and moved to Al-Shahania Sports Club in the Qatar Stars League alongside compatriot Mehrdad Pooladi. On 14 December 2014, he scored a hat-trick in a 3–1 away win against eventual runners-up Al Sadd SC; one year later, after suffering relegation, he joined fellow league club Al-Gharafa Sports Club for $1 million.
On 22 July 2016, Shojaei joined Superleague Greece side Panionios F.C. on a one-year contract. He enjoyed a successful first season, and subsequently extended his contract until June 2018; on 25 December 2017, however, he severed his link by mutual consent and agreed to a six-month deal at fellow league team AEK Athens F.C. three days later, announcing on his Instagram he would be wearing number 24 in tribute of Hadi Norouzi who died in 2015. He made his debut on 6 January, replacing Anastasios Bakasetas in the second half of the match against Panetolikos F.C. and later providing the assist for Hélder Lopes goal, in a 4–1 away success. He started his first match three days later against the same opponent, making another assist in a 1–0 win for the Greek Football Cup's round of 16 and being named as the most valuable player of the match for his performance.
On 1 March 2018, Shojaei put the visitors ahead in their domestic cup semi-final fixture away to Athlitiki Enosi Larissa FC, in an eventual 1–2 loss which marked his first goal for the club and the first loss in 26 matches for Manolo Jiménez's team. On 27 June, after he contributed to the club's first national championship conquest in 24 years, his contract was terminated.
On 2 August 2018, Shojaei joined Tractor S.C. on a three-year contract. On 19 April 2019, he was assaulted by a supporter of his own team who invaded the pitch after a 1–0 home defeat against Paykan FC.
Whilst at Saipa, Shojaei earned a place in Iranian national under-23 team, catching the eye of full side coach Branko Ivanković. He was first called up to play for the latter in November 2004, for a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Laos – it was the only cap he would win until the training camp prior to the finals in Germany, held in Switzerland; he was included in the final squad but only appeared once in the tournament, replacing injured Mohammad Nosrati in the early minutes of the 1–1 draw against Angola.
Shojaei began appearing more regularly in the 2010 World Cup qualification stages, scoring in a 1–1 draw against South Korea in the final game. However, Team Melli did not qualify for the tournament in South Africa. Iran did manage to reach the 2014 World Cup, with Shojaei as a regular starter in the qualifiers.
On 1 June 2014, Shojaei was included in Carlos Queiroz's list for the World Cup. He appeared as a substitute in the team's opening draw with Nigeria, and was selected in the starting line-up for the following group matches against Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Shojaei captained the squad in 2018 World Cup qualification home matches against China and Uzbekistan. On 10 August 2017, Mohammad Reza Davarzani, Iran's deputy sports minister, said on Iranian state television both Shojaei and teammate Ehsan Hajsafi would never be invited to the national team again for playing with their club Panionios against Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv FC; however, the Iranian Football Federation later stated it would review the case and reach a decision after speaking with both, with Hajsafi eventually returning to the side in November and Shojaei stating that they were pressured by their club to play.
On 18 March 2018, Shojaei was called up for friendlies against Tunisia and Algeria, being criticized after his return against the former by an Iranian member of parliament who called for his life ban. He was eventually selected for the finals in Russia as team captain, becoming the first Iranian player to travel to three World Cups. He made his debut in the tournament on 15 June in a 1–0 group stage win against Morocco, but sat on the bench for the next two games in an eventual group stage elimination.
Shojaei expressed support for the Iranian Green Movement on 17 June 2009, when he wore a green bracelet against South Korea in a World Cup 2010 qualifier along with five other players. During the match, he also wore a green undershirt previewing a possible goal celebration.
Shojaei discussed corruption in Iranian football in an interview with Radio Farda, and also spoke out against child sexual abuses in December 2016. He was subsequently summoned to the Ethics Committee of the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran.
A vocal advocate of lifting stadium ban for women in Iran, Shojaei openly expressed his regret that his mother, sister and wife were unable to see him play. He reportedly called for repealing the ban, when he met with president Hassan Rouhani in July 2017.
- As of 10 June 2019
|Sanat Naft||2002–03||Persian Gulf Pro League||12||1||0||0||—||—||12||1|
|Las Palmas||2013–14||Segunda División||29||5||2||1||—||0||0||31||6|
|Al-Shahania||2014–15||Qatar Stars League||24||5||0||0||—||—||24||5|
|AEK Athens||2017–18||Superleague Greece||12||0||5||1||1||0||—||18||1|
|Tractor||2018–19||Persian Gulf Pro League||25||4||1||0||—||—||26||4|
|United Arab Emirates||40||12||0||0||—||—||40||12|
- As of 6 June 2019
- 1.^ Including six matches with Iran's B team at the 2005 Islamic Solidarity Games that were not officially recognized by FIFA.
- As of 7 June 2016 (Iran score listed first, score column indicates score after each Shojaei goal)
|1||28 March 2009||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||18||Saudi Arabia||1–0||1–2||2010 World Cup qualification|
|2||17 June 2009||World Cup Stadium, Seoul, South Korea||22||South Korea||1–0||1–1|
|3||12 August 2009||Asim Ferhatović Hase, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina||23||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1–2||3–2||Friendly|
|4||7 September 2010||World Cup Stadium, Seoul, South Korea||29||South Korea||1–0||1–0|
|5||26 March 2013||Al-Sadaqua Walsalam, Kuwait City, Kuwait||41||Kuwait||1–0||1–1||2015 Asian Cup qualification|
|6||11 January 2015||Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, Australia||56||Bahrain||2–0||2–0||2015 AFC Asian Cup|
|7||17 November 2015||National Football Stadium, Tamuning, Guam||64||Guam||4–0||6–0||2018 World Cup qualification / 2019 Asian Cup qualification|
|8||7 June 2016||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||65||Kyrgyzstan||1–0||6–0||Friendly|
- "2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- Interview with Khanevadeye Sabz magazine Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine (in Persian)
- Masoud Shojaei, internacional iraní, ficha por Osasuna para tres temporadas (Masoud Shojaei, Iranian internacional, signs with Osasuna for three seasons) Archived 2 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine; CA Osasuna, 23 June 2008 (in Spanish)
- Empate de justicia en Pamplona (Fair draw in Pamplona); Marca, 31 August 2008 (in Spanish)
- Los suplentes de Osasuna vencen por 2–1 al Izarra de Tercera División (Osasuna bench players defeat Izarra from Tercera División 2–1) Archived 2 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine; Diario de Navarra, 23 September 2010 (in Spanish)
- Camacho descarta a Nekounam y a Masoud pese a tener el alta médica (Camacho ousts Nekounam and Masoud in spite of being fully fit) Archived 2 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine; Diario de Navarra, 4 February 2011 (in Spanish)
- Iranian duo to stay at Osasuna Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine; Persian Football, 31 May 2011
- Osasuna's Masoud Shojaei undergoes operation in Germany in an attempt to return from injury; Goal, 7 December 2011
- Levante 0–2 Osasuna; ESPN FC, 25 February 2013
- Masoud aparece justo a tiempo (Masoud just in time); Marca, 25 February 2013 (in Spanish)
- Osasuna announce Masoud departure Archived 8 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine; Inside Spanish Football, 15 June 2013
- El Valladolid contacta con Masoud Shojaei (Valladolid contact Masoud Shojaei); Resultados de Fútbol, 18 June 2013 (in Spanish)
- El internacional iraní Masoud jugará en la UD hasta final de temporada (Iranian international Masoud will play for UD until end of season) Archived 4 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine; UD Las Palmas, 3 September 2013 (in Spanish)
- Las Palmas no perdona ante el Sabadell (Las Palmas show no mercy against Sabadell); Marca, 11 September 2013 (in Spanish)
- Shojaei brace and assist in Las Palmas win [VIDEO]; Persian Football, 16 March 2014
- Officiellt: Shojaei nästa iranier till arabiska ligor (Shojaei next Iranian in Arab leagues); Svenska Fans, 11 September 2014 (in Swedish)
- "شجاعي يقود الشحانية لمفاجأة أمام السد بالدوري القطري" [Shojaei leads Al Shahaniya to upset of Al Sadd in Qatari league] (in Arabic). Kooora. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
- "الشحانیه با پولادی و شجاعی سقوط کرد؛ الوکره با قوچی از سقوط گریخت" [Al-Shahania got relegated with Shojaei and Pouladi; Al-Wakrah escaped form relegation with Gucci] (in Persian). Tarafdari. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
- "Al Gharafa of Qatar signs Iran's Masoud Shojaei". Tasnim News Agency. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
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- "Μασούντ: "Μένω Πανιώνιο κι έρχομαι με Χατζί Σαφί"" [Masoud: «I stay with Panionios and I'm bringing Ehsan Hajsafi in] (in Greek). Gazzetta. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
- "Το έλυσε και πάει για άλλα ο Μασούντ" [Masoud solved and departed] (in Greek). Contra. 26 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
- ""Σίγουρος για τον τίτλο"!" [«Sure of the title»!] (in Greek). AEK Athens. 28 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
- "Είναι μεγάλη μου τιμή που είμαι μέλος της ΑΕΚ....Είμαι σίγουρος και αισιόδοξος οτι μαζί θα ζήσουμε σπουδαίες εμπειρίες" [It is my great honour to be a member of AEK .... I am sure and optimistic that together we will have great experiences.] (in Greek). Instagram. 28 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
- "Παναιτωλικός – ΑΕΚ 1–4 (vid)" [Panetolikos – AEK 1–4 (vid)] (in Greek). Gazzetta. 6 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- "ΑΕΚ – Παναιτωλικός 1–0" [AEK – Panetolikos 1–0] (in Greek). Gazzetta. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- "Cosmote MVP του αγώνα ο Σοτζέι Μασούντ #aekfcseason2017_18 #aekpanet #aekfcteam2017_18 #aekfamily" [Masoud Shojaei was Cosmote MVP of the match] (in Greek). Twitter. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- "Λάρισα-ΑΕΚ 2–1: Ανατροπή και προβάδισμα πρόκρισης" [Λάρισα-ΑΕΚ 2–1: Comeback for lead in the tie] (in Greek). Protothema. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- "Τέλος ο 34χρονος Μασούντ από την ΑΕΚ" [34-year-old Masoud released by AEK] (in Greek). Sport 24. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- "رسمی؛ اشکان دژاگه و مسعود شجاعی به تراکتورسازی تبریز پیوستند" [Official; Ashkan Dejagah and Masoud Shojaei joined Tractor Sazi] (in Persian). Tarafdari. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- "حواشی دیدار تراکتورسازی و پیکان؛ از حمله هوادار عصبانی به شجاعی تا دو دستگی بین هواداران" (in Persian). Tarafdari. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
- Iran 1–1 Angola; BBC Sport, 21 June 2006
- South Korea 1–1 Iran; ESPN Soccernet, 17 June 2009
- World Cup qualifying 2014: Charting Iran's journey to Brazil; Bleacher Report, 24 October 2013
- "Queiroz trims Iran squad to 24". FIFA. 1 June 2014. Archived from the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Goals dry up as Iran, Nigeria draw". FIFA. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- "Messi magic takes Argentina through". FIFA. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- "Bosnians bid farewell by eliminating Iran". FIFA. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- "Queiroz names Team Melli squad". AFC Asian Cup. 30 December 2014. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "Asian Cup: Iran beats Bahrain 2–0 in Melbourne thanks to brilliant strike from Ehsan Rajsafi". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Mehdi Taremi stars as Iran beats China in World Cup qualifier". Tasnim News Agency. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
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- Erdbrink, Thomas (10 August 2017). "Iran bans two soccer stars for playing against Israelis". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- "Iran government bars Masoud Shojaei, Ehsan Haji Safi after they faced Israelis". ESPN FC. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "Venezuela perdió 1–0 ante Irán en amistoso jugado en Holanda" [Venezuela lost 1–0 against Iran in friendly played in the Netherlands] (in Spanish). El Comercio. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "El laberinto de Masoud" [Masoud's maze] (in Spanish). El País. 6 January 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "مسعود شجاعی به تیم ملی دعوت شد؛ علی علیپور و امید نورافکن خط خوردند" [Masoud Shojaei was called up to the national team; Noorafkan and Alipoor were excluded] (in Persian). Tarafdari. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
- "Iranian MP urges life-ban for footballer who faced Israeli team". Kurdistan 24. 25 March 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
- "Iran MP slams footballer who played Israeli club". Channels TV. 25 March 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
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- "کاپیتان های تیم ملی ایران برای جام جهانی 2018 روسیه مشخص شدند" [Team Melli's captains were revealed] (in Persian). Tarafdari. 13 June 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- "شجاعی در آستانه ثبت رکوردی تاریخی" [Shojaei on the verge of registering a historical record] (in Persian). Varzesh 3. June 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "Iran won their first match at a World Cup finals since 1998 as Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz scored an own goal in injury time". BBC Sport. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- "World Cup 2018: Iran 1–1 Portugal – how you rated the players". BBC Sport. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- Reza Babry, Martin (26 December 2018). "Queiroz names final 23 for Asian Cup". Persian Football. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
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- "New rape scandal in Iran". The Baghdad Post. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- Dodd, Moya (25 February 2016). "Why more women at Fifa is crucial to governing body's reform". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- Payne, Marissa (11 July 2017). "Iranian soccer stars call on government to repeal ban on women in stadiums". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- "M. Shojaei". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Masoud Shojaei – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
- Riaz Hai Naveed, Malik. "Islamic Games 2005 (Saudi Arabia)". RSSSF. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- "M. Shojaei – Matches". Soccerway. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
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