Nekounam in 2014
|Full name||Javad Nekounam|
|Date of birth||7 September 1980|
|Place of birth||Rey, Iran|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|2017–2018||Khooneh be Khooneh|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He spent most of his professional career with Pas and Spain's Osasuna, appearing in 197 official games and scoring 31 goals during his two spells with the latter and also being team captain. He also competed in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, during 18 seasons overall.
Nicknamed Neku, and widely regarded as one of Asia's greatest footballers, Nekounam represented the Iran national team a record of 151 times, playing several major tournaments including two World Cups and four Asian Cups.
Nekounam was born in Rey. Having played for Pas Tehran F.C. for several years, appearing in the AFC Champions League with the team, he signed a five-month contract with Al-Wahda F.C. in the United Arab Emirates for US$1 million, in 2005.
After his performance at the 2006 World Cup Nekounam was linked to the likes of Hertha BSC of the Bundesliga and Ligue 1's Olympique Lyonnais, but he eventually joined CA Osasuna on a two-year contract, with an option to a third year and a €5 million minimum release-fee clause on his contract – he thus became the first Iranian player to be signed by a Spanish club. On 22 February 2007, he scored in the 120th minute of the match against FC Girondins de Bordeaux for the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup to help to a 1–0 home win and aggregate score, and after a particularly successful first season began to attract interest from other European sides, notably Scotland's Rangers who had a £1 million pound offer rejected.
On 14 August 2007, Nekounam suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture in his right knee and, after undergoing a successful surgery in Augsburg, Germany, missed eight months of action. His number 24 was given to new signing Jaroslav Plašil, as he recovered from his injury.
On 24 November 2007, Osasuna showed faith in Nekounam signing a three-year contract extension on his existing contract that was set to end on 30 June of the following year, with a €5 million buy-out clause for the first two seasons and €2.5M for the last. In February of the following year he made his first training appearance since the injury – incidentally, a week later, Xavier Margairaz suffered a similar injury, missing an estimate period that could amount to one year, on 27 April he made his return against Valencia CF, replacing Francisco Puñal in the 70th minute of a 0–3 away loss.
On 31 August 2008, Nekounam scored Osasuna's first goal of the season, from the penalty spot in a 1–1 home draw against Villarreal CF. In November/December he also netted, but the Navarrese failed to win at Málaga CF (2–4) and with Real Valladolid (3–3), also scoring the opener against Real Madrid, in a 1–3 away loss on 18 January 2009.
On 22 March 2009, Nekounam netted a last-minute goal against RCD Espanyol for a 1–0 home win, and finished the season as the team's second goalscorer behind Walter Pandiani, scoring eight times in the league (a career-best in Spain). In summer 2009 he received offers from both Espanyol and Villarreal, with the latter in particular being ready to pay the buy-out clause in Nekounam's contract; however, the player repeatedly insisted to be "happy at the club", waiting until he "hears some better deals".
Nekounam was again a regular starter for Osasuna in the 2010–11 campaign, but also spent one month at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup with his national team. On 20 February 2011, in the second game upon his return from Qatar, he scored twice in a 4–0 home win against Espanyol, and eventually finished the campaign with six goals in 26 appearances in another escape from relegation.
On 21 May 2011, Nekounam renewed his contract with Osasuna for another two seasons, with the option of an annual renewal of his link. In July of the following year, amidst interest from Iranian powerhouse Esteghlal F.C. and unnamed Turkish and Qatari clubs, it was reported that he would only remain with the Rojillos if he accepted a salary reduction – he was the highest-paid player.
On 21 July 2012, aged almost 32, Nekounam returned to his country and signed a two-year contract with Esteghlal for a record fee of US$1,500,000, which made him the most expensive player in the Iran Pro League history. He scored his first goal for his new club in a 2–3 loss against Foolad F.C. on 28 November, through a penalty.
On 5 May 2013, against the same opponent, he also found the net, helping his team secure its 28th league title and winning his second national championship.
On 14 January 2014, Nekounam agreed to a four-month deal with Kuwait SC. He scored his first goal for the club on 2 February, netting the only in an AFC Champions League qualifier against Al Shorta SC.
Return to OsasunaEdit
On 4 August 2014, Nekounam returned to Osasuna by signing a two-year contract. He scored in his first game upon his return, a 1–3 Segunda División loss against Deportivo Alavés on 6 September; on 2 November he added another, helping to a 3–2 home success over Real Betis.
Nekounam returned to Iran and its Persian Gulf Pro League on 6 July 2015, joining Saipa F.C. on a one-year deal. He scored his first competitive goal for his new team on 6 August, netting the second in a 2–0 win at Rah Ahan Yazdan FC.
On 21 January 2016, Nekounam moved to Qatari club Al-Arabi SC on a four-month contract with an option to extend for a further year. In his first match, at home against Qatar SC, he assisted countryman Ashkan Dejagah in an eventual 1–1 draw.
Nekounam left the team on 30 June 2016, and the 35-year-old announced his retirement two weeks later.
Nekounam received his first call-up to Iran in May 2000. He became a starter for the national side during the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and, already a key midfield element, played in two of the national team's matches during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, being suspended for the final group game against Angola after his second yellow card against Portugal.
Additionally, Nekounam helped Iran win the 2002 Asian Games and the 2004 West Asian Football Federation Championship, and also represented the country in the 2004, 2007 and 2011 AFC Asian Cups. He was Team Melli's leading goalscorer in its successful 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign and, on 1 June 2014, he was called up as captain by Carlos Queiroz for the finals in Brazil, where he captained the nation in an eventual group stage exit.
Nekounam was also selected for the 2015 Asian Cup squad, on 30 December 2014. In March 2015, he hinted that a friendly against Sweden on the 31st – five days earlier, against Chile, he had become his country's most capped player after surpassing Ali Daei– might be his last international, but later went back on that statement only to confirm it the following day and subsequently send an emotional open letter to fans; he scored 39 goals for his country, and shortly after retiring was named Queiroz's assistant.
Midway through the 2017–18 season, Nekounam became the manager of F.C. Nassaji Mazandaran. His team won 23 points from his nine games in charge, and were promoted to the Persian Gulf Pro League after a 24-year absence.
|2001–02||Iran Pro League||25||4||–||–||25||4|
|United Arab Emirates||League||President's Cup||Asia||Total|
|2005–06||Al-Wahda||UAE Football League||11||3||0||0||–||–||11||3|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Total|
|2012–13||Esteghlal||Persian Gulf Cup||27||5||4||1||8||3||39||9|
|2013–14||Al-Kuwait||Kuwaiti Premier League||11||1||2||1||6||3||19||5|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Total|
|2015–16||Saipa||Persian Gulf Pro League||15||3||3||0||–||–||18||3|
|2015–16||Al-Arabi||Qatar Stars League||11||1||1||0||–||–||12||1|
|United Arab Emirates||22||8||3||3||–||–||25||11|
- Score and Result lists Iran's goal tally first
|1.||1 February 2003||Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong, China||Denmark||2003 Carlsberg Cup|||
|2.||17 June 2004||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Lebanon||2004 WAFF Championship|||
|3.||23 June 2004||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Iraq||2004 WAFF Championship|||
|4.||25 June 2004||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Syria||2004 WAFF Championship|||
|5.||20 July 2004||Olympic Sports Center, Chongqing, China||Thailand||2004 AFC Asian Cup|||
|6.||6 August 2004||Workers Stadium, Beijing, China||Bahrain||2004 AFC Asian Cup|||
|7.||17 November 2004||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Laos||2006 World Cup qualification|||
|9.||30 March 2005||Kim Il-sung, Pyongyang, North Korea||North Korea||2006 World Cup qualification|||
|10.||29 May 2005||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Azerbaijan||Friendly|||
|11.||24 August 2005||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Libya||Friendly|||
|13.||16 August 2006||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Syria||2007 Asian Cup qualification|||
|14.||6 September 2006||Abbasiyyin, Damascus, Syria||Syria||2007 Asian Cup qualification|||
|15.||2 July 2007||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Jamaica||Friendly|||
|17.||15 July 2007||National Stadium, Bukit Jalil, Malaysia||China PR||2007 AFC Asian Cup|||
|18.||18 July 2007||National Stadium, Bukit Jalal, Malaysia||Malaysia||2007 AFC Asian Cup|||
|19.||25 May 2008||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Zambia||Friendly|||
|20.||22 June 2008||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Kuwait||2010 World Cup qualification|||
|21.||6 September 2008||King Fahd International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia||Saudi Arabia||2010 World Cup qualification|||
|22.||15 October 2008||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||North Korea||2010 World Cup qualification|||
|23.||11 February 2009||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||South Korea||2010 World Cup qualification|||
|24.||14 November 2009||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Jordan||2011 Asian Cup qualification|||
|25.||3 March 2010||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Thailand||2011 Asian Cup qualification|||
|26.||2 January 2011||Jassim Bin Hamad, Doha, Qatar||Angola||Friendly|||
|27.||2 September 2011||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Indonesia||2014 World Cup qualification|||
|29.||5 October 2011||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Palestine||Friendly|||
|30.||15 November 2011||Gelora Bung Karno, Tanah Abang, Indonesia||Indonesia||2014 World Cup qualification|||
|31.||16 October 2012||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||South Korea||2014 World Cup qualification|||
|32.||6 February 2013||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Lebanon||2015 Asian Cup qualification|||
|35.||11 June 2013||Azadi, Tehran, Iran||Lebanon||2014 World Cup qualification|||
|37.||19 November 2013||Camille Chamoun, Beirut, Lebanon||Lebanon||2015 Asian Cup qualification|||
|38.||26 March 2015||NV Arena, Sankt Pölten, Austria||Chile||Friendly|||
|39.||31 March 2015||Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden||Sweden||Friendly|||
- As of 29 November 2018
|Khooneh be Khooneh||1 August 2017||10 January 2018||22||12||8||2||32||14||+18||54.55|
|Nassaji Mazandaran||1 March 2018||1 January 2019||29||12||11||6||47||23||+24||41.38|
|Foolad||1 June 2019||Present||0||0||0||0||0||0||+0||—|
- AFC – OFC Challenge Cup: 2003
- West Asian Football Federation Championship: 2004; Third-place 2002
- Asian Cup: Third-place 2004
- He has two additional caps awarded by the Iranian FA. Those matches are not considered full internationals by FIFA, which only counts 149.
- Javad Nekounam – Century of International Appearances; at RSSSF
- "World Cup 2014: Player profile – who is Javad Nekounam, the Iran midfielder?". The Independent. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Iran will miss Javad Nekounam -- the talisman that allowed them to dream". ESPN FC. 12 April 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "نکونام:از حضورم در جمع ۱۰ بازیکن تاریخ آسیا خوشحالم" [Nekounam: Happy at my inclusion in the top 10 Asian players] (in Persian). 90TV. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- Golriz, Babak (24 December 2005). "Nekounam states Euro ambition". Sky Sports. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- "Buh, Bye". The Guardian. 10 July 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- "Osasuna sign Javad Nekounam". Persian Football. 5 July 2006. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2006.
- Javad Nekounam – Osasuna's new star; Iran Sports Press, 2006
- "Osasuna 1–0 Bordeaux". UEFA. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "Gers miss out on Iranian ace". Sky Sports. 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- Nekounam sidelined at Osasuna; UEFA, 16 August 2007
- "Nekounam sufre una rotura de ligamento cruzado anterior" [Nekounam suffers anterior cruciate ligament rupture] (in Spanish). CA Osasuna. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- Javad Nekounam renueva su contrato hasta 2011 (Javad Nekounam renews his contract until 2011) Archived 18 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine; CA Osasuna, 24 November 2007 (in Spanish)
- Siguero, Santiago (27 April 2008). "Ontanaya falla, Villa no" [Ontanaya fails, Villa does not]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Osasuna 1–1 Villarreal". ESPN Soccernet. 31 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- "Málaga 4–2 Osasuna". ESPN Soccernet. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- "Osasuna 3–3 Valladolid". ESPN Soccernet. 7 December 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- "Real Madrid 3–1 Osasuna". ESPN Soccernet. 18 January 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- "Osasuna 1–0 Espanyol". ESPN Soccernet. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- González, Damián (7 April 2009). ""Este Osasuna con Messi acabaría en la Champions"" ["This Osasuna would end in Champions with Messi"]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- Javad Nekounam not interested in leaving Osasuna; Goal, 21 June 2009
- Villarreal looking to recruit Iran's Nekounam; Press TV, 17 June 2009
- "Nekounam at the double". ESPN Soccernet. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
- "Osasuna renueva a Masoud y a Nekouman [sic]" [Osasuna renew Masoud and Nekounam] (in Spanish). UEFA. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- Iranian duo to stay at Osasuna Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine; Persian Football, 31 May 2011
- Javad Nekounam could stay at Osasuna if he accepts pay cut; Goal, 9 July 2012
- "Javad Nekounam officially joins Esteghlal". Kabir News. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- گرانقیمت ترین بازیکن تاریخ فوتبال ایران با رقم قراداد 4.5 میلیارد تومان! [Javad Nekounam: The most expensive player in the history of football in Iran with 9 million dollars contract] (in Persian). Jam News. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Esteghlal loses to Foolad [VIDEO]". Persian Football. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- Esteghlal won the league; Goal, 5 May 2013 (in Persian)
- الإيراني نيكونام كويتاي رسمياً Archived 16 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine; Kuwait Club, 14 January 2014 (in Persian)
- "AFC Champions League Wrap: In-form duo win". FourFourTwo. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- "Javad Nekonam". The AFC. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- One more trophy for Nekounam in his club career; Persian Football, 8 May 2014
- "Javad Nekounam está en Pamplona" [Nekounam is in Pamplona] (in Spanish). CA Osasuna. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
- "Nekounam scores in Osasuna comeback [VIDEO]". Persian Football. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "Nekounam goal inspires Osasuna comeback". Persian Football. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "Saipa signs Javad Nekounam from Osasusna". Tehran Times. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "جواد نکونام به العربی قطر پیوست" [Javad Nekounam joins Qatar club Al-Arabi] (in Persian). 90TV. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- رسمی؛ خداحافظی جواد نکونام از فوتبال (Official; Nekounam retired from football); IRIB Varzesh, 15 July 2016 (in Persian)
- "Portugal 2–0 Iran". BBC Sport. 17 June 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- "Queiroz trims Iran squad to 24". FIFA. 1 June 2014. Archived from the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Queiroz names Team Melli squad". AFC Asian Cup. 30 December 2014. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "Javad Nekounam becomes Iran's most capped player". Persian Football. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Nekounam changes mind over Iran retirement". Persian Football. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- بیانیه احساسی جواد نکونام پس از خداحافظی/جلوی هیچکس سرم را خم نمی کنم جز هواداران [Nekounam: I only bow to the fans but nobody else] (in Persian). Khabar Online. 5 April 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- "Javad Nekounam bids farewell to international career". Persian Football. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- "Nekounam appointed Carlos Queiroz's assistant". Persian Football. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- "Javad Nekounam candidate to lead Iran U23 football team". Persian Football. 21 April 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "IPL: Naft Masjed Soleyman, Nassaji Mazandaran win promotion". Persian Football. 29 April 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- "J. Nekounam". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Javad Nekounam" (in Persian). IRIB Varzesh. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "Javad Nekounam" (in Persian). IRIB Varzesh. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
- Players with a Century of Caps Archived 28 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine; at RSSSF