Skip to main content

AC Milan legends give Iranian soccer fans a boost

updated 2:33 PM EST, Thu November 28, 2013
Iranian supporters of AC Milan welcome former players of the Italian soccer club for a charity match at Tehran's Azadi stadium. Iranian supporters of AC Milan welcome former players of the Italian soccer club for a charity match at Tehran's Azadi stadium.
HIDE CAPTION
Milan veterans visit Tehran
Milan veterans visit Tehran
Milan veterans visit Tehran
Milan veterans visit Tehran
Milan veterans visit Tehran
Milan veterans visit Tehran
Milan veterans visit Tehran
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iranian soccer fans welcome AC Milan to Tehran for charity match against Persepolis
  • The game is part of a collaboration between the two clubs, giants in Europe and Asia
  • Persepolis hoping to learn from Milan's highly-regarded youth academy
  • Milan's team of former stars beat their counterparts 3-1 in front of 65,000 crowd

(CNN) -- As Iran's relations with the Western world seem to be thawing following a historic U.S. agreement over its nuclear production, sport is also doing its part to bring Tehran in from the cold.

AC Milan, the world's most successful soccer club in terms of trophies won, sent a team stacked full of its former stars to take part in a charity match against counterparts from Persepolis FC.

Thursday's game, watched by 65,000 fans in Persepolis' Azadi Stadium, was won 3-1 by the seven-time European champion.

But as Iran's nuclear deal will help lift some of the economic sanctions that have hurt its growth, this exhibition has bigger meaning for Persepolis and the development of Iranian football.

It is part of a collaboration that began at the end of last year when Persepolis president Mohammad Rouyanian visited Italy to meet with Milan chief executive and V.P. Adriano Galliani.

Milan's website reports that the "Rossoneri" ("black and reds") will be sharing knowledge of the club's successful youth academy with Persepolis -- which is Iran's most successful team and one of the most popular in Asia.

"Mohammad Rouyanian expressed his admiration for the way that the club and its proprietor made Milan the most decorated in the world," the website said. "The desire to create and develop a form of collaboration between the two clubs came naturally.

"Collaboration is already underway that will see the Milan Academy help to export and replicate the Milan Model with Persepolis, which celebrates its 50-year anniversary this year."

Legendary defender Paolo Maldini headed a star-studded Milan lineup at the 100,000-capacity Azadi Stadium for a match that marked the last Persepolis appearance for former Iran captain Mehdi Mahdavikia.

Mahdavikia, 36, retired this year following a distinguished career in which he appeared at two World Cups -- representing his country 111 times in all -- and spent eight seasons with German club Hamburg.

The Milan team also included another of Italy's defensive greats, Franco Baresi, and his fellow World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso.

Its goals came from Daniele Massaro -- part of Italy's 1982 World Cup-winning squad -- Christian Lantignotti and Stefano Eranio, while Alireza Emamifar scored for Persepolis.

"Thank you to @acmilan glorie for coming to Iran and putting a smile on the Iranian AC Milan fans :)" one supporter wrote on Twitter.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
updated 10:55 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
updated 4:22 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
updated 1:25 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT