Iranian football legend, Mehrdad Minavand has died after a brief battle with coronavirus. He was 45.
The former midfielder was hospitalized on January 21 in Tehran after testing positive for the disease and died on Wednesday night, January 27.
Persepolis, where he played and served as a coach, said in a statement that the veteran has “bid adieu to Iran and Persepolis,” paying tributes to him.
FIFA also issued a statement, saying they are “heartbroken” over the death of Minavand, who helped Iran register its first-ever World Cup victory – 2-1 – against the USA in 1998.
Iran’s Sports Minister Massoud Soltanifar in his message described Minavand’s demise as “a great shock for the sports community” and said he was an ambassador of Iranian football overseas.
Mahmoud Vaezi, the Iranian president’s chief of staff, said the coronavirus pandemic has “snatched another important and popular face” while extending condolences over his death.
Minavand, who kicked off his eventful sporting career in 1994 with Tehran-based Pas football club, later shot to prominence during his stint with Iran’s top football team Persepolis.
He represented Iran and played in the 1998 FIFA World Club.
The left-winger also played for foreign clubs like Strum Graz (Austria), Sporting Charleroi (Belgium), and Al-Shabab (UAE) before returning home to join Persepolis for a second stint.