Victory name of Persepolis' game

Persepolis players celebrate winning the Iranian championship
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If names count for anything, it is no surprise that Iranian giants Piroozi, which means 'victory', has established itself as one of the most successful clubs at both domestic and continental level.

Best known by its original name of Persepolis, the team has reached legendary status in Iran, having dominated the Iranian league for decades and constantly impressed at Asian level. takes a look at the club's celebrated run over the past four-and-a-half decades.

Meteoric rise
Only established in 1963, the club is not of the same vintage as renowned Shahin FC which came into being as early as 1942. Yet despite their late start, Persepolis had a meteoric rise to fame four years after its birth, largely down to its policy of importing great players. The closure of the then famous Shahin FC offered Persepolis the opportunity to grow, with nearly the entire disbanded Shahin team recruited into the Tehran-based club.

Armed with established stars, Persepolis quickly made a name for themselves, finishing among the leading pack in the 44-team national competition in 1968. This marked the beginning of a new era that would see Persepolis move to the top of the Iranian pecking order.

Persepolis clinched their first title in 1971 when they claimed the Iranian local league after an impressive run that included an incredible 14-match undefeated record with 13 wins and a draw. It took them two more years to transform the local success on to the national stage when they won the Iranian championship for the first time in 1973.

From this point forward, Persepolis never looked back, adding seven more league championships and three Hazfi Cup's to their bulging collection of silverware.

Golden eraAmongst the long list of the famous players to have worn the club shirt is Ali Parvin, who remained a key contributor during his 18-year spell from 1970 to 1988, including spending his last seven years as player-coach. The former midfielder has become a living legend in Iran after achieving numerous successes with Persepolis including two league and one cup title. Pavin also figured prominently with the national team in their victorious AFC Asian Cup campaigns (1972, 1976) and the historic success of the FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign for Argentina 1978.

The 1990's marked a golden era for Persepolis. With a band of immortal names amongst the ranks, including current Iran coach Ali Daei, Mehdi Mahdavikia and Karim Bagheri, Persepolis secured four league titles in only five seasons from 1995 to 2000.

Continental dreamDespite their unparalleled domestic record, Persepolis' bid for Asian glory has been moderate, with the club emerging as continental winners only once, in 1991, when they overcame Bahrain's Muharraq 1-0 on aggregate in the final of the AFC Cup Winner's Cup. They may have featured in the inaugural AFC Champions League in 2003 but failed to progress beyond the group stage after finishing second behind Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor.

The 2009 edition of the Asian showpiece now beckons and Persepolis, who qualified after winning the Iran Pro League last year, is pitted against Al Gharafa, Sharjah and Saudi giants Al Shabab. Despite being handed a difficult assignment, the team, under newly appointed Portuguese mentor Nelo Vingada and captained by former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi, are expected to mount a serious challenge for the championship.

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Ali Daei (L) celebrates a goal with Iran team-mate Ali Karimi

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