Born on 19 September 1982 in Tehran, Amir Shapourzadeh won his first international cap with Iran in June 2007, when he played for Iran B team in the West Asian games in Jordan. Iran faced Iraq in the final of that competition, and beat them convincingly to take home the championship. The same Iraq team lifted the Asian Cup a couple of months later.
Amir Shapourzadeh played against Iran in January 2008 with his club side, Hansa Rostock, and captained him team in a 2-0 victory over Iran in the Azadi Stadium.
Despite the goal scoring problems which Team Melli has faced in the past year, Shapourzadeh has never been considered as an option, and his name was not even included in the list of 50 players called up for 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Shapourzadeh has started 5 games in Bundesliga this season, and has made 6 more appearances as a substitute player.
Iransportspress.com spoke to the forgotten man of Iran, Amir Shapourzadeh, and you can read this interview below. To read previous interviews with Shapourzadeh, click on the relevant link: interview in 2005, interview in 2007.
iransportspress.com: Hi Amir. Many thanks for giving us some of your time.
Shapourzadeh: It’s always a pleasure to speak to my friends at ISP.
iransportspress.com: We don’t read much about you in the Iranian media. Tell us how this season has been for your club?
Shapourzadeh: This hasn't been an easy season for us. Hansa Rostock’s main aim this season is to survive in the Bundesliga. We have 24 points, and are hovering around the relegation zone at the moment, with 4 other teams. Three teams will go down, and we hope that we are not one of them.
iransportspress.com: and what about yourself?
Shapourzadeh: The first half of this season was quite tough for me. I went to Jordan with Iran B team, and so I was away for a few weeks. I missed some of the pre-season training with Hansa Rostock, and on top of that I didn’t have any break since the season before. So overall, I didn’t play much in the first half of this season. But since the winter break I have played much more, and my situation has got better.
iransportspress.com: What are your plans for next season?
Shapourzadeh: My contract with Rostock is coming to an end at the end of this season. I have a few offers on the table, but I am just concentrating on Rostock for now, and trying to help my team stay in the Bundesliga 1. After the season is over, I will decide about my next team.
iransportspress.com: Would you like to stay in Germany, or would you move to another country, such as Italy, Spain or England?
Shapourzadeh: I have actually thought about moving to other countries, and it is something that I will do if I receive the right offer. However, that’s all in the future, and I am just hoping that we can avoid relegation with Rostock at the moment.
iransportspress.com: Lets concentrate on Iran now. How was your first experience with Iran last summer?
Shapourzadeh: It was excellent. I love Iran, and it was a great honour for me to be involved, even though that was a B team. We managed to win the competition, and played well as a team. There were a lot of young players involved, and that made it easier for me to get on with them. They were all very welcoming, and they made me very comfortable in the group.
iransportspress.com: So does this mean that you now can not be considered for the German national team?
Shapourzadeh: That’s correct. As far as FIFA are concerned, I have made my choice, and I can only play for Iran national team.
iransportspress.com: What do you think about Ali Daei becoming the new coach of Iran?
Shapourzadeh: I think it’s a great decision. He was a great player who has experience of playing in top teams, and he has been successful as a coach too. So overall I think it was a very good choice.
iransportspress.com: Did you ever meet Ali Daei while he was playing in Germany?
Shapourzadeh: I was much younger when Ali Daei was playing in Germany, so I don’t believe I met him face to face. But of course I was aware he was playing in Germany.
iransportspress.com: what about other Iranian players who are playing in Germany? Are you in contact with them?
Shapourzadeh: I usually meet up with Ashkan (Dejagah), Mehdi (Mahdavikia), and Vahid (Hashemian) when our teams play against other. I also occasionally exchange SMS messages with Vahid, so yes, we know each other quite well. I also shared a room with Mahdavikia when I was in HSV.
iransportspress.com: Has anyone from the Iranian Football Federation been in touch with you in the past few months?
Shapourzadeh: No, I have had no contact with the Iranian FA whatsoever.
iransportspress.com: What did you think of the list of 50 players announced for the World Cup qualifiers?
Shapourzadeh: We have a lot of good and young players in Iran, and I think most of them were part of the list. I think the list was overall balanced.
iransportspress.com: And your name wasn’t there. Were you surprised that the Iranian FA didn’t even call you up to have a look at you in the training sessions?
Shapourzadeh: Of course I was upset on a personal level. It was a great honour for me to play for Iran B team last year, and I would love to be able to be involved with Iran national team again. But that is not up to me. This is a decision the Iranian coaches make, and I totally respect that. I cant let this affect my football, and all I can do at the moment is to concentrate on my club, and who knows what might happen in the future.
iransportspress.com: Do you usually watch Team Melli matches?
Shapourzadeh: I try to if I get a chance. If not, I always watch the goals on the internet on places like your own website.
iransportspress.com: So you must know the slow start which Iran has made in its World Cup qualifiers. Do you think Iran will reach the next round?
Shapourzadeh: I think so. We have a lot of good players. Our foreign based players are very experienced, and our younger players have a great potential. We also have a good coach now. So considering these, I expect Iran to qualify to the next round.
iransportspress.com: You captained Hansa Rostock against Iran in January in a friendly game. How was that experience?
Shapourzadeh: It was simply amazing. I have been with Hansa Rostock for several years now. First with the second team, and then with the first team. It was a very nice touch by the coach to make me captain for that game.
iransportspress.com: And after the game you got stuck in Iran because of the weather?
Shapourzadeh: Yes. We couldn’t leave for three days. After the game the weather suddenly changed, and there was heavy snow. We spent most of the time in the hotel because there was too much snow to go out or even train.
iransportspress.com: I understand you are in the team hotel, and have to leave soon. Anything you like to add at the end?
Shapourzadeh: I would like to thank you and wishing all your visitors the best of luck.
iransportspress.com: Thanks again, and we also wish you all the very best for the future.