A week after scoring that decisive goal of Javad Nekounam against Korea Republic, which secured three vital points for Team Melli, the Captain of the team spoke about various aspects of football to Esteghlal official website.
Asked about his feeling of the goal and the ensuing celebration, Nekounam said “There was little time for celebration. As soon as the International commitment was over, we had to return back to the club to prepare for the league games which are becoming crucial at this stage. I had a slight knock and at the moment I am trying quite hard to recover from it.”
Asked if the goal he has scored against Korea, eased some pressure over him as the Captain of the team and a key player. Nekounam said that he has nothing to prove to anyone. He has proven himself some time ago.
“I always wanted to join Esteghlal.”
After 4 months of returning back to Iran’s league, Nekounam said he was satisfied with his decision to return back home after so many years as a legionnaire playing in the UAE and the La Liga. He also stressed that he always wanted to play for Esteghlal. When he made his decision to return to Iran’s league , Esteghlal was his first choice and fortunately, that was the case. “Even before going to Spain, I spoke to Amir Ghalenoei and indicated to him that I like to join Esteghlal. But he encouraged me to pursue my career in Spain. His advice was quite valuable.” Nekounam said. He also added that he had little expectations about the football in Iran and was not affected by some bad publicity that was and is still going around about the so-called corruption in football. He said that he had not personally experienced some of the claims that have been aired and he is happily doing his trade in home land, however, if he ever found unbearable difficulties and if the environment is not encouraging, he would not hesitate to think about playing abroad again.
Nekounam down played the issue of Esteghlal Captaincy which created some ill feeling between players. He said that he did not join Esteghlal to walk over other more senior players and instantly become a Captain of the team. “Seniority is very important and even if a player who joined a day before me , should also be more senior than I am. I am not going to demand that I have to be the Captain and will respect the senior players’ position in Esteghlal.”
Nekounam said that he does not care much for the critics who had issues with his form in Esteghlal and Team Melli. Claims that his form is below par and not consistent with his form in Osasuna, did not bother him. Nekounam said that he wants to enjoy his football and that is his objective. He said that he is not too fond of giving interviews and admitted that he had a bit of a problem with the media while he was in Spain but he managed to sort it out with some diplomacy.
“There are lots of lies and fabrications doing the rounds here.”
On the aspect of off field issues surrounding football in Iran, Team Melli Captain was very critical of what is being mentioned in the media which has no relation to the factual events. He said that some reporters dream of some imaginary event and the next day they publish it in their newspapers as facts or hot news!. “There are lots of lies and fabrications doing the rounds here. For some people it seems that they enjoy reading controversial tabloid type news which is created by some reporters. There is a wide gap of thoughts between here and Europe in this sense.”
On the forthcoming match against Uzbekistan , Nekounam said “it is going to be a tough game despite the fact that we will be at home. We really need this victory as this will be our path to qualification for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.” Commenting further on the match , he said that the absence of Masoud Shojaei from that match due to suspension for his red card against Korea , will not affect the team as there are enough competent replacement in Team Melli to fill the gap.
Team Melli will play Uzbekistan in Azadi on November 14th , 2012. With 4 matches played, Iran is second behind Korea Republic on goal difference with 7 points.