Aref Gholizadeh, the former Taj and Team Melli player of the 50’s has passed away today.
Gholizadeh was born in Baku , Azerbaijan during the Soviet Union rule and moved to Tehran when he was 10 years old. Some sources claim Gholizadeh was born in Tabriz. His official records show the year of birth as 1938 however , Gholizadeh has said that he was 10 years older than the records.
Aref was discovered by Ali Danaeifard when he was playing on sandy grounds. Danaeifard was a master of spotting talented players and he was instrumental in shaping Gholizadeh to play at top level of Iranian football when he took him to Taj Club ( currently Esteghlal).
Gholizadeh was a central defender with exceptional flight and heading ability towering over forwards taller than him. He was nicknamed the “Golden Head” or Aref Sar Talaae” because of this powerful heading ability.
Gholizadeh was first selected for Team Melli during the Asian Games 1051 held in New Delhi, however , he did not get a chance to play and remained a substitute during the tournament. Despite of that disappointment, Gholizadeh collected a Silver Asian Games medal after Iran lost to India 1-0 in the final.