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
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT