Iran’s 25-year-old goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, who pulled off an improbable penalty save to deny the imperious Ronaldo, has been one of the most outstanding performers of World Cup 2018. The story of his life is equally amazing.
Beiranvand was born in a nomad family. He spent his early childhood grazing sheep and developed a fondness for football. At a young age, he ran away from home to Teheran to pursue his passion.
Times were tough. Once he slept outside a football club’s office door. “When I got up in the morning, I noticed the coins that people had dropped for me. They had thought I was a beggar! Well, I had a delicious breakfast for the first time in a long while,” the goalkeeper who also made a bunch of spectacular saves against Spain told The Guardian newspaper.
As he struggled to make his mark as a player, Beiranvand worked at a dressmaking factory, a carwash and a pizza shop to eke out a living. He has since developed into a world-class goalie, with a penchant for long throws like the Russian great Lev Yashin. Beiranvand now plays for Iran’s famous Persepolis Club and is among the club’s top-earners.