Tabriz, South Azerbaijan June 28
Iran striker Sardar Azmoun announced his retirement from international football on Thursday, saying he had decided to quit the national team because of racist insults aimed at the 23-year-old had ruined his mother’s health.
Iran was knocked out of the World Cup with a win, a defeat and a draw in their three Group B matches, and Azmoun, Iran’s top scorer in qualifying, did not replicate his best form in Russia, where he failed to score a single goal.
“Playing in my national team has been a great honor for me and I will be proud of myself to the end of my days,” Azmoun said in a post on social media. “Unfortunately… I have come to the decision to say goodbye to my national team.
“This is one of the most painful and significant life decisions for a youth of 23, who faced great hardships to get here.”
Although Iran left the World Cup with their heads held high, beating Morocco in their first match and narrowly losing to Spain before securing a gritty draw with Portugal, Azmoun said he had been subjected to abuse for his performances.
“There are some things in life that will speak first to you,” he added.
“My mother had overcome a serious illness and I was happy, but unfortunately because of the unkindness of some people, and the insults that me and my teammates in no way deserved, her illness has become severe.
“This has put me in a difficult position where I must pick one or the other – and as a result, I pick my mother.”
The Turks of South Azerbaijan and the Turkmans condemned this racist behavior of the Persians against the Turkmen player.The Turkmen player has scored 23 goals for Iran in his 36 appearances.