Ali Karimi the wizard of Tehran who burst into the international football arena when he had a splendid debut for Team Melli in a friendly match versus Kuwait and capped a successful year by scoring for his country in the final of the Asian Games and winning the Gold Medal.
His mesmerizing runs, driving style and outrageous skill have alerted the likes of Italy's Perugia and Atletico Madrid of Spain to the potential of the 22-year-old Perspolis striker. But Karimi chose a foreign club much closer to home by joining Al Ahli of Dubai.
Karimi's rise has been remarkable given that before joining the Perspolis at the start of the 1998-99 season he was at Second Division Fath, where training was conducted on the streets with a plastic ball.
Karimi was quick to find success with Perspolis, winning the domestic Double in 1999 and the championship again in 2000. International honors came even more rapidly, as he helped Iran to win the 1998 Asian Games, most notably by scoring in the Final.
After the disappointment of missing the World Cup 2002 in the final hurdle, Karimi joined Al Ahli and it did not take much time to show his magic and skill in the UAE league. He was nominated as the Best League player against some tough competition. His goals and trickery and the ability to beat defenders en mass, has caught the eyes of the media and the fans in a big way. AL Ahli a pedigree team in the UAE league , but one that missed on silverware for a long time, managed to win its first trophy thanks to Karimi, when they became the Winners of the President Cup in 2001-2002 season.
In what is arguably the best performance of his career, Karimi was the star of the show in Asian Cup 2004 where he helped Iran win the 3rd place and scoring 5 goals as a joint top scorer. Unfortunately, despite his exceptional performance, the corridor of power , elected a Japanese player as the tournament MVP.
Ali Karimi crowned his performance in 2004 by being selected at the AFC Asian Football of the Year an accolade that attracted the interest of many European clubs.
Bayern Munich eventually succeeded in signing Karimi after the end of his contract with Al Ahli. Karimi will be playing next season in the Bundesliga.
Despite being a rookie in the Team , Karimi managed several appearances until an injury cut short his season with Bayern. Millions of his supporters , watching the televised match when he was injured , sent goodwill messages to him hoping that he recovers in time to perform his wizardry in the World Cup.
Just prior to Asian cup 2007 , Karimi signed a 2 year contact to play with Qatar Club .
During Team Melli preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2010 , Karimi was suspended due to his public criticism of the Football Federation , later on he was pardoned but was could not make the squad for the preliminary matches.
In a surprise move , Karimi joined Al Saliya club after Qatar FC did not wish to continue with his services only after one season with the club. He did not play for AlSaliya and opted to return home to play for Perspolis.
After the end of a mixed season with Perspolis and due to financial reasons , Karimi reluctantly left Perspolis to join newly promoted Estil Azin for 2009/10 season.
20052007...Bayern Munich...33 (3)
20072008...Qatar SC........27 (5)
20092010...Steel Azin......32 (14)