(IranSportsPress.com-TehranTimes)- Alireza Haghighi, who was Iran’s No. 1 in 2014 FIFA World Cup, is currently without a team while an injury is the latest blow he has suffered.
Haghighi became the first Iranian goalkeeper to join a European club when he signed for Russian outfit Rubin Kazan back in 2012 although he failed to make a single top team appearance in an ill-fated two-year stint.
He then moved to play for Covilho and Penafiel in Portugal before signing for Maritimo in January 2016. After having appeared to claim the starting job in pre-season the arrival of Brazilian Eduardo Gottardi led him to terminate his contract with the club.
“Maritimo was one of the worst experiences in my career. Fortunately there was a term in my contract which allowed me to leave the club but the transfer window was closed and I couldn’t move to another club. However I had two offers from Portuguese teams but I didn’t want to stay in Portugal anymore.
“After I left Maritimo, Sunderland was the first team who offered me a contract as a second choice keeper but I was eager to have more playing time so I rejected it.
“During the last week of December I got two offers, one from Championship side Wigan Athletic and another one was Port Vale in Championship. Wigan’s second choice keeper who was on loan from Liverpool got injured and the club officials offered me a contract but at the end some tax issue blocked my move to the team.
“A couple of days later I was on the verge of joining Port Vale and I even signed the contact but then it was another misfortune. The club haven’t got the permission to sign a non-European player as they had never signed a non-EU player before.
“It was not the end of the story as I took part in the training session of a Greek Super League side. Everything was going well and I was on the verge of signing a contact when I got injured in a friendly match playing for them.
“Meanwhile I had some offers from Iranian clubs Naft Tehran, Sepahan and Tractor Sazi but I can’t see myself playing in any other shirt except Persepolis.
Haghighi, who has not been invited to Team Melli squad by Carlos Queiroz in the recent call ups, believes that he can play for Iran in the World Cup again.
“After all this I’ve not lost my hope. Now I’m recovering from injury and I keep working hard in order to get back on the pitch. I want to return to Iran national team and play in the World Cup again,” he concluded.