At 28 years old, Sardar Azmoun has this physical status:
Sardar Azmoun (born 1 January 1995) is an Iranian professional footballer who plays for Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg as a forward. Since making his debut for the Iran national team in 2014, Azmoun has played in the 2015 and 2019 AFC Asian Cups and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
He is also Iran's fifth all-time highest goalscorer. Azmoun is the second most expensive Iranian player of all-time, only surpassed by Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
He was first introduced to the game when he was 9 years old on a family trip in Turkmenistan, according to Sardar. He began his career at Oghab Gonbad, Gonbad-e Kavus, where he began his career. He competed in volleyball and was invited to Iran's national under-15 volleyball team. He began with Shamoushak Gorgan before joining Etka Gorgan, who were playing in Division 1 (the second tier) in Iran at the time.
Azmoun joined Sepahan's youth ranks at age 15. Although he appeared for the club in Turkey during their pre-season friendlies, Sepahan did not make a professional appearance for the club when the team lifted the trophy in 2011–12.
Sardar's talent in Iran's youth team was sought after by a number of European clubs, notably Rubin Kazan, during the 2012-2013 season. When Azmoun moved to Rubin Kazan at the age of 17, he became Iran's youngest Legionnaire.
Azmoun was invited by Russian team Rubin Kazan in January 2013; meanwhile, he was keen on two Iranian teams, Persepolis and Esteghlal, as well as an invitation for his first team role in Sepahan. He joined Turkishmen speaking Kurban Berdyev and became Iran's first football player in the Russian Premier League, choosing Kurban Berdyev. He made 8 appearances for his club's reserve team during his rookie season, scoring two goals and receiving one yellow card. He was also selected for the 18-man match day squad on several occasions, but he did not make his senior debut until April.
Azmoun made his senior team debut against Jagodina on July 25th, defeating Rubin 1–0. He scored his first goal in his second senior appearance for Rubin in a 3–0 Europa League victory over Molde on August 29th. He came as a replacement in the 64th minute. He made his league debut on October 6, 2013 with a goal and an assist, and he came on as a replacement in the 72nd minute of a 5–1 victory over Anzhi Makhachhachhachhachchia.
Arsenal reportedly made a £2 million bid to Kazan for the transfer of 19-year-old Azmoun, sparking rivalry from A.C. Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Tottenham, Tottenham, and Barcelona.
In a 2–1 loss to Rostov, Rubin Kazan's second league goal was scored three days later. In Rubin Kazan's loss to Zenit St. Petersburg on April 6, he scored a goal. Azmoun came as a replacement in the 55th minute against Krylia Sovetov, scoring a goal and assisting in a 4–0 victory.
Despite transfer offers from Arsenal, Liverpool, and Zenit St. Petersburg, Rubin Kazan revealed on their official website on July 4th that Azmoun will remain at the club. In a 1–1 draw against Hellas Verona in a pre-season friendly match on July 27, 2014, Rubin Kazan scored Rubin Kazan's goal in a 1–1 draw. In a 1–1 draw against Terek Grozny in the 87th minute, he scored his first goal of the season. In their win over Spartak Moscow in the 2014–15 Russian Cup on October 30, he scored a goal.
Azmoun signed a three-and-a-half month loan contract with relegation-battling Russian Premier League club FC Rostov until the end of the season. Azmoun came back as a substitute in the 73rd minute and scored the match winner in the 88th minute against Kuban Krasnodar on March 16th. In Rostov's 2–2 draw against Dynamo Moscow on April 26, 2015, Azmoun found the back of the net once more. His good work earned him a spot on the Russian Premier League Team of the Week. On June 7, Rostov scored Rostov's winning goal in the relegation play-offs.
Azmoun extended his loan agreement with Rostov until the 2015–16 season. In a 2–1 loss to CSKA Moscow on August 22, he scored his first goal of the season. Stoke City, an English Premier League club, was linked to his good results in the first half of the season. He was also linked to Everton's English side in March 2016.
Azmoun scored in Rostov's 3–0 victory over Zenit Saint Petersburg on April 24, 2016, despite a long goalless drought. In a 3–1 victory over Dynamo Moscow on May 12, 2016, Rostov retained second place and remained in contention for the Russian Premier League championship. Rostov defeated Ural 1–0 on May 16th, clinching at least an UEFA Champions League play-off spot for the 2016-17 season. His goal was a banner. Ranking against Ural was his fifth game in a row with a goal that had six goals in 5 games.
Azmoun helped Rostov's first goal against Terek Grozny on the last day of the Russian Premier League, needing a victory and CS Rauch Moscow to drop points to become champions. CSKA won their match and Rostov finished as runners up, securing a UEFA Champions League playoff spot.
Despite having half as much playing time as some other top scorers, Azmoun finished seventh in league scoring with nine goals on Sunday. He was also named as the fifth most valuable player of the league, marginally behind players such as Fyodor Smolov, Moussa Doumbia, and Brazilian superstar Hulk.
Initially it was reported that Azmoun would return to Rubin Kazan. However, Rostov triggered the buy out clause in Azmoun's contract. Rubin Kazan denied this agreement, claiming that Azmoun was their player. Rubin had filed a FIFA lawsuit. FC Rostov filed a counter-complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport temporarily ruled in favour of Azmoun and the fact that he was one of Rostov's UEFA Champions League squad. According to Rostov's solicitor Yuri Zaytsev, the final CAS decision on his status may not be reached until late 2016 or even the summer of 2017.
In the first leg of a third-round qualifying round match against Anderlecht at Olimp, Azmoun made his Champions League debut on July 26, 2016, bringing Aleksandr Bukharov to a second stop in the 56th minute. He started in the return leg on August 3rd and scored his first Champions League goal in the 47th minute, assisting Rostov in reaching a score of 4–2 on aggregate. On Sunday, he scored his second Champions League goal against Ajax in the return leg of the playoff round match against Ajax, who won by 4–1 for the first time. In a Rostov's 2–1 Champions League group stage loss to Atlético Madrid on November 1, 2016, Azmoun scored on November 1, 2016. In the process, he became the first Iranian to score in the Champions League group stage since Ali Karimi in 2005. Azmoun scored his second Champions League goal against Bayern Munich at home on Sunday, leading Rostov to a 3–2 victory and their first official Champions League group stage win.
Azmoun drew attention from European giants including Marseille, Liverpool, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Dortmund, and Bayer Leverkusen after his good results and goals in the UEFA Champions League, including Marseille, Liverpool, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Dortmund, and Bayer Leverkusen.
Azmoun scored his first Russian Premier League goal of the 2016-17 season on November 6, 2016, defeating 4–1. On November 28, he scored his second goal of the season against Anzhu Makhachhachchhachhachhacharya. FIFA dismissed Rubin Kazan's appeals relating to Azmoun's transfer to Rostov on January 26, 2017 and ruled that no obligations were outstanding against Rubin. Azmoun won 6–0 over FC Tom Tomsk in the first league game after the winter break on March 3rd. Rubin Kazan's former team was defeated in another brace against him.
Azmoun attracted attention from Scottish side Celtic, English Premier League club Everton, and Valencia's La Liga team Valencia following the 2016-17 season.
Azmoun returned to Rubin Kazan in June 2017. He was unveiled in a friendly on June 28 as a second-half replacement, wearing number 69. On July 14, FC Rostov announced that a transfer agreement with Rubin had been signed.
He began working with Zenit St. Petersburg on February 1, 2019. Sardar scored two goals and had one assist in his debut for Zenit against Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Europa League's Round of 32. He was selected Player of the Week by UEFA for his outstanding results. In his Russian Premier League debut for the team, he scored his only goal of the game on March 2nd to defeat Zenit 1–0. He doubled against FC Orenburg on March 31, 2019, in a home match. In his Champions League debut against Olympique Lyonnais on September 17, Azmoun scored the first goal of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage. He beat Mehdi Mahdavikia and Ali Daei in the UEFA Champions League with four goals against Benfica in the upcoming match.
He scored twice in a 4–2 victory over FC Krasnodar, securing Zenit's second consecutive Russian Premier League title. On July 22, 2020, his 17th goal in the league as co-top scorer of the season, as well as teammate Artem Dzyuba.
Zenit won their third title in a row in a 6–1 victory over second-place FC Lokomotiv Moscow on May 2nd, 2021, he scored a hat-trick to bring his league season scoring total to 19. In the last game of the season, when Dzyuba scored four points to bring his total score to 2021, he was overtaken as the league top scorer by his teammate Artem Dzyuba. For the 2020–21 Russian Premier League season, he was named RPL Player of the Season.
Azmoun had signed a pre-contract to join the team on a free transfer on January 22, 2022, according to Bundesliga club Leverkusen. He has been with Die Werkself for five years. Zenit revealed on Sunday that the clubs had agreed on a winter transfer, and Azmoun would join Bayer Leverkusen immediately.
Azmoun took a public stand against the Iranian government during the 2022 Mahsa Amini demonstrations. He said that his public opinions could cost him the opportunity to participate in the World Cup, but that "sacrificing for one strand of Iranian women's hair" is worth it." He was allowed to play in a friendly against Senegal, where he scored an equalizer goal that he refused to celebrate.
When Azmoun first called up for the 2012 AFF U-20 Youth Championship, he was first invited to the tournament, scoring seven goals in six games. During the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship qualification in Kerman, he competed for the U-20 team on October 8th. He captained the team in a match against Lebanon by scoring two goals, assisting one, and drawing a penalty.
In March 2015, Azmoun was invited to the U-23's squad for Olympic qualifiers. With 4 goals in three matches, he was the tournament's top goalcorer going into the final matchday. He was not released by Rostov as the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship was not held during the FIFA International Match Calendar.
Azmoun was called up by Carlos Queiroz to the Iranian national football team against Thailand on October 5th, 2013. He was selected in Iran's 28-man provisional squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by Queiroz, but he was one of five players to be cut from the final squad.
Azmoun made his senior debut against Montenegro on May 26, 2014, and he came as a replacement in the 60th minute for Reza Ghoochannejhad. However, he was not included in Iran's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which was announced on June 1st. In a 1–0 friendly win over South Korea on 18 November 18, he scored his first goal. Carlos Queiroz called Azmoun into Iran's 2015 AFC Asian Cup squad on December 30, 2014. In the upcoming match, he scored a goal, giving the Israelis a 1–0 friendly win over Iraq. In the second game of the Asian Cup, he then scored the winner with a superb piece of individual skill against Qatar. In the quarter-finals, he opened the scoring against Iraq with a header.
Azmoun scored a goal against Turkmenistan in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on June 16, 2015. In a 6–0 victory over Guam in the World Cup qualifiers on September 3, he scored his first senior brace. In a 3–0 victory over Macedonia at Philip II Arena on 2 June 2016, he scored his first hat-trick for the Iranian national team. He scored his first goal in Iran's 2–0 victory over Uzbekistan, which gained qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup eight days later. He was named in Iran's final squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia in June 2018. In their first group stage match on June 15, he made his first World Cup appearance in a 1–0 win over Morocco.
Azmoun retired from International football at the age of 23, only after Iran's 2018 World Cup exit due to widespread criticism from followers. His mother's illness aggravated his mother's illness, and Azmoun had to leave to be by his mother's side.
Azmoun returned to the Iranian national team in October 2018 and Carlos Queiroz was named up for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.