1030 GMT April 05, 2020
FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), in separate social media posts, congratulated ex-Iranian international striker Ali Daei on his 51st birthday.
“Iran’s goal king…with 109 to his name, Ali Daei - who turns 51 today - is still the highest-scoring man in the history of international football,” the international football governing body tweeted on Saturday.
The AFC also honored the birthday of “Iranian football legend” in its Instagram Persian page.
Daei, most capped in the Iranian outfit with 149 appearances, was a part of the Iranian team which finished third at the AFC Asian Cup in 1996 and 2004.
With 14 goals to his name, Daei remains the all-time top scorer of the Asian international competition.
He also played in two World Cups with Iran in 1998 and 2006.
He scored some memorable goals during his 13-year international career including four goals in a 6-2 victory over South Korea at the 1996 Asian Cup and a double against Saudi Arabia in Tehran during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers.
A former striker of Iranian clubs Bank Tejarat and Persepolis, Daei led the way for Iranian footballers in breaking through into European club football in late 90s when he joined German Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld in 1997.
Having scored seven in 25 outings for the club, he signed for the German giant Bayern Munich a year later, where he claimed the league title and reached the Champions League final in 1999, only to suffer a famous late 2-1 defeat against Manchester United in Camp Nou.
Following a season in Bayern, he joined Hertha Berlin, where he went on to score three memorable goals in the Champions League – a brace in a 2-1 win over Chelsea and one in a 1-1 draw against European giant Milan in San Siro.
Daei’s first year as a coach also ended in glorious fashion as he led the unlikely contender Saipa – where he served as a player-manager – to the Persian Gulf Pro League title in 2007, before hanging up his boots by the end of the last match of the season.