Iran’s Sardar Azmoun has quit international football at the age of 23 after claiming the insults directed at him have impacted his ill mother.
The Rubin Kazan striker completed 90 minutes in each of Iran’s three World Cup games but has now opted to retire, citing the abuse he has received and the effect it has had on his family.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Azmoun wrote: “It was a great honour for me to play in my national team, and I am proud of myself till the end of my life.
“Unfortunately, with all the interest I have, and contrary to the will of my heart, I decided to say goodbye to the national team of my country.”
He added: “There are some things in life that will speak first to you. My mother had overcome a serious illness and I was happy, but unfortunately because of the unkindness of some people – and the insults that me and my team-mates in no way deserved – her illness has become severe.
“This has put me in a difficult position where I must pick one or the other, and as a result I pick my mother.”
قهرمانی هر کشوری آرزوی تک تک بازیکنانش هست، همه تلاش من و هم تیمی هایم صعود و پیروزی تیم کشور عزیزمون بود اما با تمام تلاش های بی دریغ ما و دعاهای میلیونها ایرانی تقدیر با ما یار نبود. بازی در تیم ملی کشورم برای من افتخار بزرگی بود و تا آخر عمرم به خودم میبالم، متاسفانه با همه علاقه ای که دارم و برخلاف میل باطنی و خواسته قلبیم تصمیم گرفتم که از تیم ملی کشورم خداحافظی کنم این برای یک جوان ۲۳ساله که با سختی ها و مشقت های زیادی به اینجا رسیده قطعا دردناک ترین تصمیم و اتفاق زندگیش خواهد بود توی زندگی یه چیزهایی هست که حرف اول رو میزنه،با توجه به اینکه مادرم بیماری سختی رو پشت سر گذاشته بود و من خوشحال بودم متاسفانه الان بخاطر نامهربانی و قدرنشناسی عده ای و توهین هایی که به هیچ وجه حق من و هم تیمی هایم نیست، بیماریش تشدید شده، این مسئله من رو بین دوراهی سختی برای انتخاب قرار داده، در نتیجه من مادرم رو انتخاب می کنم. بیائید همدیگه رو قضاوت نکنیم و از روی ظاهر دیگران اونها رو مورد ارزیابی قرار ندیم،کسی چه میدونه که در پس خنده های من چه سختی های تلخی وجود داره؟؟؟!!! من برای سلامتی مادر علیرضا جهانبخش عزیزم که بیماری سختی رو پشت سر گذاشته و بهبودی حاصل شده آرزوی سلامتی دارم، تنها علیرضا بود که شاهد روزهای غم انگیز و تلخ دوران بیماری مادرم بود، ممنون رفیق ختم کلامم در تشکر از کیروش عزیز است،امیدوارم روزی تیم کشورم رو در قهرمانی جهان ببینم. از تمامی رسانه ها هم بخاطر لحظه لحظه های با ما بودنشون سپاسگزارم و قدردان محبت های تک تک هموطنانم هستم عشق فقط مادر با ارزوی سلامتی برای همه مادرها❤
The disgraced ex-FIFA president was speaking to Press Association Sport in Moscow, where he is a guest of Russian president Vladimir Putin despite being banned from all football activities.
Blatter, much to FIFA’s obvious unease, attended Wednesday’s Portugal-Morocco game at the Luzhniki Stadium and then had dinner with Putin and deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko in the head of state’s Kremlin apartment.
The 82-year-old said he and Putin exchanged “small talk” and the president reminded him of the telephone conversation they had on December 2, 2010, when Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating, among
others, a bid from England.
Blatter, who has been suspended by FIFA since October 2015, backed Russia’s bid, then, but believes it is time for England to try again. And he is willing to help.
“I still feel that England, the motherland of football, should have a World Cup when it’s the turn of Europe,” said Blatter, pointing out that 1966 was a long time ago.
“There will be a lot of contenders (for 2030) but they will deserve it, and Scotland, Wales and the Irish – why not? – should be in, too, because that would be a better candidate for a 48-team World Cup. That’s a lot (of games) for one country.
“So good luck for England.”
Asked if he would use the influence he built up during his 17-year reign as FIFA boss to support a British bid, he said: “OK, I will use my influence, if England will accept my influence.”
Given the Football Association’s recent experiences of bidding for World Cups, they might be tempted to accept any help they are offered. Blatter’s, though, might not be such a good idea.
In a terse statement, FIFA said it “had taken note of Mr Blatter’s visit to Russia” but had no further comment to make and it was telling that there was no footage or pictures of world football’s former frontman at Wednesday’s game.
Only time will tell if his Russian hosts can hide him again when he attends Friday’s Brazil-Costa Rica game in St Petersburg but Blatter, who is serving a six-year ban from the game for making a dishonest payment to ex-UEFA boss Michel Platini, denies his former colleagues are embarrassed of him.
“I don’t think they are embarrassed I’m here – they knew I was invited by the head of state and the two presidents (Putin and his successor at FIFA, Gianni Infantino) spoke about it,” said Blatter.
“But if was the president of FIFA I would have said ‘Welcome to the World Cup, Blatter’ – it’s only for a few days.”
He claimed he has spoken to several senior figures in the game on the phone and they have welcomed him to the World Cup and said it was a “lost opportunity” on FIFA’s part not to make “a little effort” on his behalf.
Asked how this would work given his ban and the fact that he remains under criminal investigation in his native Switzerland, Blatter said: “I’m suspended like a player, a coach or referee.
“OK, I cannot act like a president of FIFA, but a suspended player can go to the stadium or training – this is the same. I can go to any stadium I want, in Switzerland or anywhere. I’m not suspended from that.”
The joint bid between the USA, Mexico, and Canada has won the rights to host the 2026 World Cup, beating out Morocco’s bid in a vote on Wednesday.
Despite expectations that Morocco could mount a late surprise charge and win the hosting rights, the “United 2026” bid won by a big margin, 134 votes to 65.
“Thank you so, so much for this incredible honour. Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege,” US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said.
Watch the moment the joint bid gets announced as the winner by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.