According to Marca and Iranian local press, Iran and former Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz was pressured by the Iranian government to leave Bayer Leverkusen striker Sardar Azmoun out of his World Cup squad.
Queiroz’s press conference to announce Iran’s World Cup squad for the tournament in Qatar was delayed as officials reportedly put pressure on the Portuguese coach to remove the former Zenit forward from his list after he spoke out in support of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in Police custody earlier this year in Iran, sparking widespread protests.
Azmoun said previously: “I can’t keep quiet about what has happened to Mahsa Amini. If the punishment is being kicked out of the national team, it’s a small price to pay for even a single lock of hair from an Iranian woman.”
Omid Noorafkan, Milad Sarlak, Mohammadrez Akhbari and Saman Fallah have all also spoken out against authorities in Iran and none were included in the squad yesterday evening. None are key players but all have been capped this year. However, Azmoun was finally intercluded in the final 25 man party.