Despite its early World Cup exit, Iran’s goalkeeper for Russia 2018, Alireza Beiranvand has been in the news for his remarkable performance.
The 25-year-old player secured a spot in World Cup history when he blocked a goal from Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, the man often described as the “Penalty King”
Beiranvand, who was playing in his first World Cup has an epic life story that could be an inspiration for millions around the world.
An Inspiring Life Story
Alireza Beiranvand was born in Sarabias, Lorestan, to a nomad family. They were constantly moving around the countryside to find grassland for their sheep.
Being the eldest child, Alireza worked from an early age to help his family. He worked as a shepherd and whenever he found free time, he would play football with his friends.
When Beiranvand turned 12 his family settled in Sarabias, where he joined a local team in the village.
After a while, Beiranvand decided he would be a goalkeeper but his father strongly objected to this decision.
Insisting on pursuing his dream and becoming a professional soccer player, Beiranvand borrowed money from a relative and ran away to Iran’s capital, Tehran.
He arrived at Tehran with neither money nor accommodations; so the young player had to set up a camp outside the football club where he would receive his training.
“I slept by the club’s door, and when I got up in the morning, I noticed the coins that people had dropped for me,” he told the Guardian. “They had thought I was a beggar! Well, I had a delicious breakfast for the first time in a long while.”
Beiranvand had to take on jobs at a dressmaking factory, a carwash and a pizza shop in order to earn a living. He was slipping in and out of homelessness during this period.
In 2011, Beiranvand made his professional debut as a keeper for the Iranian team Naft Tehran, and he has since grown into one of the country’s star athletes.
Most recently, he replaced longtime national goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi in the team’s starting lineup.