Jun 8, 2020, 7:45 PM
Journalist ID: 2374
News Code: 83814966
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Iran's Jahanbakhsh unravels highs & lows of football in Holland

Tehran, June 8, IRNA - Iranian football player Alireza Jahanbakhsh who is now playing for Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club in an interview unveiled the highs and lows of football during his time in Holland.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, Jahanbakhsh said: "When I joined NEC in 2013, I’d had a few other offers to consider. I was playing for the under-19 national side and after a tournament in Dubai I had interest from clubs in Turkey and France as well."

"I spoke with friends and people I trust in to try and take the right steps for my future. Most of them chose the Dutch opinion because of the academy at NEC and how they help you grow as a footballer and a person," he added.

"At the same time, I had an offer from one of the biggest clubs in Iran! They have about 35 million fans and I was close to joining them. They’d done all the paperwork and as I was about to sign when I had a call from Holland." 

"I disappeared for a few days to make sure the Holland move could happen. They came to Iran to speak to my club and a deal was made. I explained to the Iranian club my reasons and that I wanted to move out of the country. They understood and it went from there. I wanted to learn and adapt to European football."

When Jahanbakhsh was asked to comment on his impressions of the first season and also his memories, he said: "It was tough to be honest. It was a completely new environment and culture with different expectations."

"Of course, the way they played football was different too. In Iran we had a lot of very good individual players, in Holland, I had to learn how to play more as part of a team with detailed tactics."

"I had to learn the language to be able to communicate with my teammates, but I had friends around me who helped me settle in. Every day I tried to learn the language."

"We were relegated in that first season, but I learned so much. I played in a lot of games and then in the second season I wanted to give something back to the club. I felt comfortable there and we got promoted back to the first division."

It’s always taken "me some time to adapt to new surroundings wherever I’ve moved to" but once that’s happened it’s been much better.

For much of the interview, the Iranian player talked about his chance of joining the club earlier, saying: "Things went really well. I came to Brighton and spent a few days in England looking around the training ground and the city, it was amazing."

"I formed a great impression, but I was only 21. The Championship was a very physical league with a lot of matches and at the time I felt I had a lot to learn in order to develop even more." 

"But I always told my friends that Brighton gave me an amazing feeling and I kept it in my mind."

He was also asked to talk about his feeling in AZ Alkmaar, saying: "I had a lot of injuries in my first season and I wasn’t in the best shape. In the second season, I got used to the club and the amazing people there. I learned so much."

"I began to feel at home and produced my best performances. The third season was the best so far. I felt in a really good place and had a great relationship with everyone."

Speaking as the first-time Asian player who was the top scorer in the 2017/18 league, Jahanbakhsh said: "Throughout my career, I have felt a responsibility to be a role model for the young footballers back in Iran."

"I wanted to show it’s possible to make steps, grow, and make it in Europe at the highest level. I wanted to show it doesn’t matter where you come from – if you work hard and have ambition you can create great things," he added.

"You have to be patient. I came from a very normal family and used to play with my friends in the street, but I wanted to make my dreams come true and I’ve done that through hard work."

"It felt great to have so much success there. We have had some wonderful young players making moves all over Europe now and to feel like I have played a part in that means a lot to me."

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