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The inspirational story of Iran's goalkeeper

From homeless runaway to record-breaker: The inspirational story of Beiranvand

June 26, 2018 By Ali M.
Saving Cristiano’s penalty and subsequently making history is another impressive achievement in the Iranian goalkeeper’s amazing life story.

After the 1-1 draw with Portugal, the Iranian players received wide praise for their gallant attempt to pip the European giant to the World Cup round of 16. None is more deserving than their goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand.

The custodian put in fine performances throughout the tournament regardless of their elimination, but the biggest moment of his journey came in the second-half when he was tasked with stopping a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty. With the help of VAR, the Real Madrid superstar was given a spot-kick after being brought down in the box but saw his attempt foiled by the 25-year-old.

That saw the shot-stopper set a record, becoming the first goalkeeper to save a World Cup penalty from a Portuguese player excluding shootouts. However, the achievement of saving Cristiano's shot, while impressive, pales in comparison to his inspirational achievement of representing the national side.

As a kid, Beiranvand went through hardship to become a professional player. Having been born into a nomadic family and having a father who was pushing him into the workforce, the Iranian made the brave decision to run away from home as a teenager to pursue his dream due to his family's disapproval.

He took a bus to Tehran, but being young; poor; and without a job, Beiranvand found himself homeless. He struggled to afford a place to sleep but continued to hustle, working in dressmaking factory, a car wash, a pizza shop, and as a street cleaner while still playing for local clubs.

Sleeping outside training pitches or in the shops he worked did not break his spirit, however. Eventually, he made his professional debut at the age of 19 with Naft Tehran. His amazing throw and ability to hurl the ball deep downfield proved pivotal, as it garnered him attention and popularity.

He is now 25 and plays for one of the biggest team's in Iran. He can succumb to mistakes, as a first-half error could have gifted Portugal a goal. Nonetheless, his passion and determination are irresistible. Beiranvand may have bowed out of the World Cup, but he has done enough to win the hearts of everyone watching. 



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