Ali Karimi the wizard of Tehran who burst into the international football
arena when he had a splendid debut for Team Melli in a friendly match versus
Kuwait and capped a successful year by scoring for his country in the final of
the Asian Games and winning the Gold Medal.
His mesmerizing runs, driving style and outrageous skill have alerted the
likes of Italy's Perugia and Atletico Madrid of Spain to the potential of the
22-year-old Pirouzi striker. But Karimi chose a foreign club much closer to
home by joining Al Ahli of Dubai.
Karimi's rise has been remarkable given that before joining the Perspolis
(Pirouzi) at the start of the 1998-99 season he was at Second Division Fath,
where training was conducted on the streets with a plastic ball.
Karimi was quick to find success with Pirouzi, winning the domestic Double in
1999 and the championship again in 2000. International honors came even more
rapidly, as he helped Iran to win the 1998 Asian Games, most notably by
scoring in the Final.
After the disappointment of missing the World Cup 2002 in the final hurdle,
Karimi joined Al Ahli and it did not take much time to show his magic and
skill in the UAE league. He was nominated as the Best League player against
some tough competition. His goals and trickery and the ability to beat
defenders en mass, has caught the eyes of the media and the fans in a big way.
AL Ahli a pedigree team in the UAE league , but one that missed on silverware
for a long time, managed to win its first trophy thanks to Karimi, when they
became the Winners of the President Cup in 2001-2002 season.
In what is arguably the best performance of his career, Karimi was the star of
the show in Asian Cup 2004 where he helped Iran win the 3rd place and scoring
5 goals as a joint top scorer. Unfortunately, despite his exceptional
performance, the corridor of power , elected a Japanese player as the
Ali Karimi crowned his performance in 2004 by being selected at the AFC Asian
Football of the Year an accolade that attracted the interest of many European
Bayern Munich eventually succeeded in signing Karimi after the end of his
contract with Al Ahli. Karimi will be playing next season in the Bundesliga.