Iran have said goodbye to two of their greats with Ali Karimi and Mehdi Mahdavikia - the latter a member of Team Melli’s famed France 1998 generation - recently announcing their retirements.
The stakes are incessantly high in the Tehran derby, and with Esteghlal out to consolidate their lead and Persepolis aiming to relieve the troubles of last season, its 76th installment is the talk of Iran.
On this day 15 years ago a teenage Mehdi Mahdavikia announced his arrival on the international stage, and at the same time helped Iran to a pivotal victory en route to qualification for France 1998.
In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays during the coming week.
Iran head into the final stage of Asia’s 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying aiming to return to the world stage after an eight-year absence with coach Carlos Queiroz seeking to boost his squad with some European-based additions.
The final round of qualifying in Asia for Brazil 2014 has finally taken shape, with ten teams learning the challenges that await when the final-round draw took place at AFC House.