Meet the Iranian Messi as racing-mad Sardar Azmoun makes his World Cup debut
Iranian footballer Sardar Azmoun is a keen racing fan but he can be forgiven for having other things on his mind when his country make their World Cup debut on Friday against Morocco in Saint Petersburg.
Dubbed the 'Iranian Messi', the 23-year-old Rubin Kazan striker, a keen rider himself, regularly shares pictures of racehorses he owns and videos of their races with his 2.3 million followers on Instagram.
With Iran manager Carlos Queiroz spending four years as assistant to renowned racing owner Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that racing discussions take place in the Iranian dressing room.
Azmoun, who has attracted the interest of some of Europe's top clubs, will decide on his future after the World Cup.
If rumours are to be believed, Premier League new-boys Wolves head the queue. Perhaps they have told the young striker about the delights of all-weather racing at nearby Dunstall Park.
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