It happens to find are really sensational stories behind the most incredibile sports’s gesture. This is the case of Alireza Beiranvand, the Iran’s 25-year-old goalkeeper who managed to pull off a penalty kicked by Cristiano Ronaldo during the World Cup. But his baggage seems to be even more interesting.
In fact, his personal troubles before to “make it” has become a sort of inspirational fairy tale for for millions around the globe.
Beiranvand was born in Sarabias, Lorestan, belonging to a nomad family involved in sheeps’ breeding. He was the eldest child and naturally it was supposed for him to follow the footsteps of his parents by shepherding.
When Beiranvand turned 12 his family settled in Sarabias and he trained with a local side. He started as a striker but when the goalkeeper got injured he stood between the sticks and a brilliant save was enough to keep him there. So he decided he would be a goalkeeper but his father strongly objected.
“My father didn’t like football at all and he asked me to work,” Alireza told the Guardian. “He even tore my clothes and gloves and I played with bare hands several times.”
This is the reason why the goalkeeper decided to go to Tehran in order to look for a chance at one the bigger clubs in the capital. Fortunately, the fortune quickly glanced in his direction: it was on the bus that he met a football coach, Hossein Feiz, who managed a local team. Feiz told Beiranvand that he would let him train in return for 200,000 Toman (£30).
But he did not have any money or a place to sleep. He had to spend nights around Azadi Tower, where many poor migrants gathered.
“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,” he said. “They had thought I was a beggar! Well, I had a delicious breakfast for the first time in a long while.”
His next job was working in a car wash and, because of his height, he became a specialist at washing SUVs. Then he accepted to work as a street cleaner.
But it was his childhood game Dal Paran that made him famous abroad in 2014 and he began to shine. He was selected for Iran’s under-23s and then became Naft’s first-team goalkeeper.
In 2015 Alireza finally became Iran’s first-choice goalkeeper and, with 12 clean sheets in qualifying, he helped Team Melli cruise to Russia 2018.
“I suffered many difficulties to make my dreams come true but I have no intention of forgetting them because they made me the person I am now,” he said.
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