Mehdi Mahdavikia admitted the chance to play regular football was one of the main reasons behind his decision to join Steel Azin from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt.
The former Iran skipper had been restricted largely to substitute appearances at Eintracht over the last couple of seasons. Consequently, Mahdavikia decided to look elsewhere for first-team football and opted to return to his home country, signing an 18-month contract yesterday with his local side Steel Azin in the Iran Pro League.
"Things were really difficult for me for the past couple of months in Frankfurt, that's why I decided to leave Eintracht," said the 32-year-old. "I hoped for a better season after the winter break, but the coach didn't seem keen to play me. He had some reasons for not giving me a chance to play, but still admired my professional behaviour and hard work during training. That was the first reason for me to change my team and come back to my home town, but the second was family reasons."
Mahdavikia started his career in Iran with Persepolis before moving to German side Bochum in 1998. He then joined Hamburg a year later and went on to enjoy eight successful years at the club before joining Eintracht. He also made over 110 appearances for the national team before announcing his retirement last year.