Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, who stole the show in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia by stopping Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty, is now winning the internet with his inspiring success story. The 6-foot, 5-inch tall Beiranvand is just 25 years old. The Iranian has faced a lot of struggles before securing a spot in Iran’s World Cup team.
Born to a nomadic family in western Iran, Beiranvand started playing football at the age of 3 while working as a shepherd. When he was 12, his family moved to Sarabais where Beiranvand joined a local team. He wanted to pursue the sport professionally, but his father opposed him. He then borrowed some money from a relative and ran away to Tehran.
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand ran away from his home at the age of 12, after his family tore his football clothes, to pursue his dream of being a professional footballer. He slept on roads and outside his clubs.
Today he has saved Cristiano’s penalty at the World Cup __ pic.twitter.com/uUnmkhNzQW
— FlFA World Cup (@WorIdCupFC) June 25, 2018
While he was in Tehran, Beiranvand met a local football coach Hossein Feiz who decided to give him an opportunity.
Left with no money, Beiranvand was forced to sleep in front of the club’s door for the night where he was getting trained. The next day when he woke up, he found some money next to him as people thought he was a beggar.
Motivating story about Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand ,slept in the street, worked in a car wash & was homeless in order for him to make his dream of playing football come true. Ran away from nomad lifestyle to Tehran & struggled to reach his dream, tonight he blocked a penalty pic.twitter.com/ujvWdJq8jo
— Collins Okinyo (@bedjosessien) June 25, 2018
He shared the details with The Guardian and said:
“I slept by the club’s door, and when I got up in the morning, I noticed the coins that people had dropped for me. They had thought I was a beggar! Well, I had a delicious breakfast for the first time in a long while.”
While playing for the club, Beiranvand took up various jobs to survive. He worked as a worker in dressmaking factory, car wash cleaner, street cleaner and also worked at a Pizza joint.
The man who saved Cristiano’s penalty worked in a dress factory, a car wash and as a street cleaner.. Ladies and gentlemen Alireza Beiranvand pic.twitter.com/0grTeVexiu
— The Instigator (@Am_Blujay) June 25, 2018
In 2011, Beiranvand made his professional debut as a keeper while playing for Iranian club team Naft Tehran. In November 2014, he made it to the headlines after he threw a ball 70 metres away to allow his teammate to score a crucial goal.
He then joined Persepolis Football Club in 2016 and became its highest-valued player at more than USD 1 million.
Iran, however, knocked out from the World Cup tournament.