Voria Ghafouri

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Voria Ghafouri
Esteghlal FC in training, 10 October 2020 - 07.jpg
Ghafouri with Esteghlal in 2020
Personal information
Full name Voria Ghafouri
Date of birth (1987-09-18) 18 September 1987 (age 35)
Place of birth Sanandaj, Iran
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Right-back
Right winger
Club information
Current team
Foolad
Number 21
Youth career
Pas Tehran
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2010 Pas Hamedan 81 (5)
2010–2012 Shahrdari Tabriz 50 (3)
2012–2014 Naft Tehran 62 (3)
2014–2016 Sepahan 45 (2)
2016–2022 Esteghlal 135 (19)
2022– Foolad 2 (0)
National team
2014– Iran 28 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 30 May 2022
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 6 June 2019

Voria Ghafouri (Kurdish: وریا غەفووری, romanized: Vûrya Xefûrî;[1][2] Persian: وریا غفوری; born 18 September 1987) is an Iranian footballer who plays for the Persian Gulf Pro League club Foolad, for which he is captain, and the Iran national team. He has played much of his career as a right-back and also played as a right winger occasionally.

Before joining Esteghlal in 2016, Ghafouri spent a successful two-year spell with Sepahan, winning the Iranian League in 2015. Ghafouri debuted for Iran in 2014 against South Korea. He was part of Iran's squad in the 2015 and 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

Style Of Play[edit]

Known for his pace and great crosses. He is regarded as one of the best right-backs of Iran. He also is a good set-piece taker as he shoots most of the penalties and free-kicks.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Ghafouri played his entire career for Pas Hamedan until 2010 when he signed with Shahrdari Tabriz. He later signed with Naft Tehran.[3]

Sepahan[edit]

In July 2014 Ghafouri signed a two-year contract with Sepahan.[4]

Ghafouri was named "Persian Gulf Pro League Defender of the year" by F.F.I.R.I. at the end of 2014–15 season.[5]

Esteghlal[edit]

On 5 June 2016, he signed with Esteghlal on a two-year contract, reuniting him with his former manager at Naft Tehran, Alireza Mansourian.[6][7] He announced on his Instagram account that he will wear number 21, the same number he used to wear in his previous teams.[8]

Ghafouri (left) celebrating his goal against Persepolis in the Tehran derby in 2018.

He made his debut for the club in a 1–1 draw against his former team, Naft Tehran.[9] His first season with Esteghlal was a frustrating one for Ghafouri as he missed 13 matches in total due to various injuries which limited him to making just 17 appearances for the season in the league.[10]

Ghafouri scored his first goal for Esteghlal in a 3–0 win against Esteghlal Khuzestan on 28 December 2017.[11] On 1 March 2018, he scored Esteghlal's winning goal against Persepolis in the Tehran derby.[12] His performance elected him as Man of the match.[13] He was also named as the best right back in Football Tribe's Asia best eleven of the month for his display in March.[14][15] On 2 April, Ghafouri scored his first AFC Champions League goal from the penalty spot in a 2–0 win against Al-Rayyan, securing qualification for the Round of 16 as Group D winners.[16] He scored another goal in the following match against Al-Hilal and was named Man of the match for his performance.[17] He finished his second season with 6 goals in 34 appearances in all competition as Esteghlal finished the season in third in the league, won the Hazfi Cup and qualified for the quarter-finals of Champions League.[18]

In June 2018, Ghafouri signed a new contract keeping him at Esteghlal for another season.[19] From the start of the 2018–19 season, Esteghlal's manager Winfried Schäfer, led to him being deployed in right-wing positions, a place where he'd occasionally played in his previous teams.[20] On 2 August, he scored the first brace of his career in a 2–2 draw with Zob Ahan in Isfahan.[21] On 26 November, he captained his side for the first time in a 0–1 defeat against his former team Sepahan.[22]

On 2 June 2019, Ghafouri signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2021.[23] At the beginning of the 2019–20 campaign, following the departure of Esteghlal's captain Mehdi Rahmati, Andrea Stramaccioni made him the blues captain.[24]

Esteghlal went on to win the 2021–22 Persian Gulf Pro League, becoming the first team in the league to go through the entire domestic league season unbeaten.[25]

International career[edit]

He was called up to Iran national football team in October 2014 by Carlos Queiroz. He made his debut in a 1–0 win against South Korea on 18 November 2014 entering as a substitute for Khosro Heydari.[26]

Ghafouri was selected for the Iranian 2015 AFC Asian Cup squad on 30 December 2014 by Carlos Queiroz.[27] Despite a successful group phase, where Iran won all their games with him featuring in all matches, Ghafouri did not achieve international glory as the team were beaten by Iraq in penalties which he successfully converted his turn in the first knockout stage of the tournament.[28] Due to his performance in the tournament, he was voted as the surprise player of the tournament by the fans.[29]

In May 2018 he was named in Iran's preliminary squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.[30] however he did not make the final 23.[31]

Ghafouri was named in the Iranian squad for 2019 AFC Asian Cup.[32] After sitting out the first game against Yemen, he made his first appearance in the competition on 12 January and played the entire 2–0 win over Vietnam.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province, Ghafouri is of Kurdish descent. Ghafouri and his wife Mona Ardalan have two children: son Radin and daughter Barin (born 2017).[34][35][36] He cites Dani Alves and Frank Lampard as his favourite football players.[37]

On 6 July 2020, Esteghlal announced Ghafouri and other 8 players have tested positive for COVID-19.[38]

In June 2022, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Rostam Ghasemi threatened Ghafouri accusing him of being a Kurdish separatist after he tweeted the word "Kurdistan" twice;[39] however he denied the accusation later by stating that he would sacrifice his life for Iran.[40]

Activism[edit]

Ghafouri in 2019

Ghafouri regularly criticizes the general problems of society in Iran on his social media.[41] In February 2019, after Mohammad Javad Zarif the Foreign Minister of Iran stated: "We are proud of being under pressure defending the people of Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria", Ghafouri posted a story on his Instagram account, criticizing him by saying: "You are not under pressure. As a matter of fact, it is the ordinary people who are under pressure." On 18 February, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated: "Some people, who benefit from the country's peace and security enjoying their jobs and their favourite sports, bite the hand that feeds them" which was claimed to be referring to Ghafouri and fellow footballer Ali Karimi. A few hours after Khamenei's speech, he was summoned by the Ministry of Sport and Youth to give an explanation about his comments on Zarif.[42][43][44][45] After being summoned, many fellow footballers supported him on their social media.[46] During Esteghlal's next home game against Pars Jonoubi Jam, fans chanted his name at the 21-minute mark (as his shirt number is 21) to show their support to him.[47]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 30 May 2022[48]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Hazfi Cup Asia Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Pas Hamedan 2007–08 30 2 30 2
2008–09 23 2 23 2
2009–10 28 1 0 0 28 1
Total 81 5 0 0 81 5
Shahrdari Tabriz 2010–11 20 1 1 1 21 2
2011–12 30 2 1 0 31 2
Total 50 3 2 1 52 4
Naft Tehran 2012–13 32 0 0 0 32 0
2013–14 30 3 1 0 31 3
Total 62 3 1 0 63 3
Sepahan 2014–15 27 2 1 0 28 2
2015–16 18 0 2 2 3 0 23 2
Total 45 2 3 2 3 0 51 4
Esteghlal 2016–17 17 0 0 0 6 0 23 0
2017–18 24 4 4 0 10 2 38 6
2018–19 23 4 1 0 5 0 29 4
2019–20 29 5 4 2 6 1 39 8
2020–21 22 6 5 2 7 0 34 8
2021–22 20 0 2 0 22 0
Total 135 19 16 4 34 3 185 26
Career total 373 32 22 7 37 3 432 42

International[edit]

As of 6 June 2019[48]
Iran
Year Apps Goals
2014 1 0
2015 12 0
2016 0 0
2017 5 0
2018 7 0
2019 3 0
Total 28 0

Honours[edit]

Voria celebrationg IPL title with Esteghlal in 2022

Sepahan

Esteghlal

Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ "یاریزانی کورد، وریا غەفووری لە تۆپی پێی بنگی ئێران دوور خرایەوە" (in Kurdish). Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Vûrya Xefûrî beşdarî amadekarîya Tîma Voçana Kurdistanê bereberê pêşbirka hestyar a wê tîmê bû". Sahar TV (in Kurdish). Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Persian League- Latest Iran League News - Iran Football News - Iran Sport News - Vouria Ghafouri". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  4. ^ "غفوری به سپاهان پیوست" [Ghafouri joined Sepahan] (in Persian). Tarafdari.
  5. ^ "غفوری برترین مدافع فصل ایران شد" (in Persian). Varzesh بنگی3.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "غفوری استقلالی شد" [Ghafouri joined Esteghlal] (in Persian). Fars News Agency. 5 June 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  7. ^ "وریا غفوری دوباره شاگرد منصوریان شد" (in Persian).
  8. ^ "وریا غفوری با انتشار عکسی در اینستاگرام، شماره جدیدش را مشخص کرد" (in Persian). Tarafdari.
  9. ^ "استقلال 1 - نفت 1؛" (in Persian).
  10. ^ "وضعیت مصدومیت وریا غفوری تا روز پنجشنبه مشخص خواهد شد" (in Persian). Tarafdari.
  11. ^ "استقلال خوزستان 0 - استقلال 3؛ استقلال زلزله" (in Persian). 28 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  12. ^ "استقلال ۱ - پرسپولیس ۰/ استقلال انتقام دربی رفت را گرفت" [Esteghlal 1 - Persepolis 0]. Navad. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  13. ^ "وریا غفوری برترین بازیکن دربی ۸۶" [Voria Ghafouri was the best player of the 86th derby.]. Navad. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  14. ^ "The Football Tribe Asia XI: March 2018". 7 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  15. ^ "وریا غفوری و فرشید اسماعیلی در تیم ماه آسیا (عکس)" [Voria Ghafouri and Farshid Esmaeili in Asia's team of the month]. Varzesh 3. 7 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
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  19. ^ "وریا در استقلال ماندنی شد". Esteghlal FC. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
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  27. ^ "Queiroz Names Team Melli Squad". afcasiancup.com. 30 December 2014.
  28. ^ "ایران 3 (6) – (7) 3 عراق؛ ویلیامز و بدشانسی ایران را نقره داغ کردند" (in Persian).
  29. ^ "پدیده لیگ در جام ملت ها مشخص شد" (in Persian).
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  32. ^ "FINAL REGISTRATION CALL UP LIST". FFIRI. 26 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
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  37. ^ "بیوگرافی وریا غفوری" (in Persian).
  38. ^ Vouria Ghafouri: il curdo uomo-derby di Teheran in quarantena totale, un vetro lo divide dalla sua bambina
  39. ^ "تادێت کێشەکانی وریا غەفووری قوڵتر دەبنەوە" (in Kurdish). 20 June 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  40. ^ "پاسخ وریا به حواشی اخیر؛ من تجزیه طلب و وطن فروش نیستم، نمی‌خواهم مثل کاپیتان های سابق از استقلال بروم، بازوبندم را با هزاران میلیارد عوض نمی‌کنم" (in Persian). 22 June 2022. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
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  42. ^ "Media In Iran Edit, Delete Khamenei's Latest Comments". Radio Farda. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
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  46. ^ "حمایت ملی‌پوشان و پرسپولیسی‌ها از وریا غفوری" (in Persian). Bank Varzesh. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
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  48. ^ a b "Iran – V. GHAFOURI – Profile with news, career statistics and history – Soccerway". ca.soccerway.com.

External links[edit]