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Iranian football legend Karimi hangs up boots

Posted on Jul 22 2014 | IANS

Tehran, July 22 : Iranian football legend and international star Ali Karimi has decided to hang up his boots.

The 35-year-old made the announcement in a letter published on his Instagram account, saying that "the fans will always stay in my heart", Xinhua quoted Tehran Times as reporting Monday.

Karimi joined Iran's Persepolis club in 1998. In his first season, he won the domestic double in 1999 and the championship again in 2000.

Karimi signed with Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates in 2001. In that season, Al Ahli won their first trophy, when they won the President Cup in the 2001-02 season.

He scored a league-high 14 goals for Al Ahli in 2004 and was named the Asian Footballer of the Year that year.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich's website announced that Karimi had signed a one-year contract with the club for an undisclosed fee May 3, 2005.

After leaving Bayern Munich, Karimi had some Bundesliga offers but rejected them to return to the Middle East, playing for Qatar SC, Al-Sailiya, Steel Azin, Persepolis, and Tractor Sazi.

Internationally, Karimi has been capped 127 times since making his debut in October 1998, and has scored 38 goals. He is currently Iran's third most capped player and third highest scorer in history.

Karimi has participated in five major tournaments, the 1998 Asian Games, the 2000, 2004, and 2007 Asian Cups and the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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