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Team Melli midfielder Shojaei on Indian club FC Goa’s radar

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's midfielder Masoud Shojaei controls the ball during a training session at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk, Russia, on June 24, 2018, on the eve of his team’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B football match against Portugal. (Photo by AFP)

Professional Indian football club FC Goa has reportedly expressed interest in signing professional Iranian footballer Masoud Shojaei, who plays mainly as an attacking midfielder for the Iran men’s national football team – nicknamed Team Melli.

According to a report published by the English-language Times of India daily newspaper, the club is trying to sign the 34-year-old Iranian, who also plays for Greek football club Athlitikί Énosis Konstantinoupόleos (Athletic Union of Constantinople) – commonly known in European competitions as AEK Athens FC – and has even submitted its request.

“Shojaei has offers from two other big clubs. He is considering our offer and knows what to expect in India since (coach) Sergio knows him from his time in Spain,” an unnamed FC Goa official said.

Back in 2014, the Iranian midfielder played under FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera at the Spanish football club Unión Deportiva Las Palmas.

Shojaei started his playing career with Sanate Naft Abadan Football Club, which currently plays in the Persian Gulf Pro League, in 2002.

He has also played in Iranian football club Saipa, al-Sharjah of the United Arab Emirates, Spanish football team CA Osasuna plus Qatari sports clubs al-Shahania and al-Gharafa.

Shojaei captained Team Melli in a 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Group B match against Morocco on June 15.

Iranian players were gifted a 1-0 win over Atlas Lions in Saint Petersburg Stadium, when Moroccan striker Aziz Bouhaddouz thumped a powerful header into his own net five minutes into injury time.

The goal came after Bouhaddouz intervened to clear a cross from Iranian captain Ehsan Hajisafi, but only directed it past Morocco’s custodian.

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