Asia's Biggest Rivalries: Persepolis vs Esteghlal, the famous Tehran Derby

This battle between two teams that share a 100,000-capacity stadium is considered the biggest and most brutally contested in all of Asia...

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First meeting:

April 5, 1968: Esteghlal 0 Persepolis 0, friendly.


Founded: 1963

Biggest achievement: Nine league titles and still, just, the most successful team in Iran's history.

Key Figures:

Hadi Norouzi: The midfielder arrived at the club in 2008 to play a part in that legendary title-winning season and went on to play 200 times for the club. Tragically, the captain died in his sleep at the age of 30 and is still remembered fondly by reds and blues alike.

Ali Parvin: Spent the best part of three decades as a player, coach and sometimes both. The midfielder helped Persepolis win four league titles and then really entered legendary status as a coach with three league wins and the 1991 Asian Cup Winners' Cup.

Bragging rights are always on the line. Pic: Kabir News


Founded: In 1945 as Taj

Biggest achievements: Two AFC Champions League titles, more than any other Iranian club.

Key figures:

Nasser Hejazi: The 1978 World Cup goalkeeper almost went to Manchester United shortly after but the Red Devils' loss was Esteghlal's gain as he arrived in 1980 to spend six years at the club. Two managerial spells followed, the first of which brought the league title in 1998 and a spot in the 1999 Asian Club Championship final.

Mansour Pourheidari: The defender spent a decade with the club from the mid-sixties, winning two league titles but really came into his own after retiring. He led the Blues to two more league wins but will never be forgotten for capturing the 1991 Asian Club Championship during one of his four spells as coach.

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