Iran veteran Nekounam retires from international duty

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Iran v South Korea - International Friendly

has announced his retirement from international football, Tasnim reported on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old, who is currently at Osasuna, made his debut for in 2000 on the way to 151 appearances for his country. He represented at three AFC Asian Cups and two World Cups.

Just days earlier, the captain had broken the record of Iranian legend Ali Daei by earning his 150th cap against Chile.

The announcement is an abrupt change of heart for the midfielder, who before the March friendlies had told local media that he intended to keep playing for Iran.

Nekounam was named runner-up for Asian Footballer of the Year in 2013, the year he helped Esteghlal reach the AFC Champions League semi-finals and contributed to Iran’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup.