In Part 5 of FOX Sports Asia’s “Players to Watch” series for AFC Asian Cup 2019, we look closely at Alireza Beiranvand.
Without a doubt, the highlight of Alireza Beiranvand’s 2018 would have been in June when he denied global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from the penalty at the FIFA World Cup.
However, the save just happened to be the standout moment of what was overall a brilliant campaign for Beiranvand, who will head to AFC Asian Cup 2019 as one of the most highly-rated goalkeepers in the entire continent.
Standing at 1.94 metres tall, size and aerial ability was never an issue for the Persepolis man but he has also proven to be a surprisingly agile shot-stopper.
There will be no shortage of outstanding shot-stoppers at the @afcasiancup but which GOALKEEPER do YOU think will star at #AsianCup2019?@gabetan13 picks 5⃣ of the best from 🇻🇳🇵🇭🇰🇷🇦🇺🇮🇷, including @MatyRyan & @mfalkesgaard1‼https://t.co/L22CVYYTxq
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) December 31, 2018
Rather, it has been consistency that has been the main issue for Beiranvand but, while he did have his ups and downs in the first half of the year, he really used his World Cup heroics as a platform to build on.
The second half of 2018 saw the Sarab-e Yas native play a key role in Persepolis reaching the final of the AFC Champions League even if they were ultimately beaten by Kashima Antlers, with another defining moment coming in the semi-finals against Al Sadd when he produced a miraculous save to deny Spanish legend Xavi.
Having turned down overseas interest in the immediate aftermath of Russia 2018, Beiranvand could now feel the time is nigh for him to make a move abroad.
While he should have shortage of suitors, another standout tournament in United Arab Emirates could just see his stock rise even higher.