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Majidi takes the reins at Esteghlal

Tehran: Esteghlal FC put an end to uncertainty regarding the club’s head coaching role, confirming former Iranian international Farhad Majidi as their new boss on Thursday.

A star for the club during his glittering playing career, Majidi’s appointment comes after former Inter Milan and Udinese manager Andrea Stramaccioni stepped down from the top job on December 9.

The door had seemingly been left ajar for Stramaccioni to return to the role, but Esteghlal confirmed the Italian’s departure was permanent last week, with Majidi subsequently signing a one-and-a-half-year deal with the two-time Asian champions.

Majidi takes the job on a full-time basis having briefly held the reins at Esteghlal on a caretaker basis after the departure of German boss Winfried Schaefer last April.

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A talented forward in his playing days, Majidi starred over four separate stints with Esteghlal, winning league titles with the Tehran giants on three occasions in a career which included 56 international caps.

Majidi’s career also included stints in Austria and the United Arab Emirates, where he won the AFC Champions League title during a loan spell with Al Ain after playing a key role in their semi-final triumph over Chinese outfit Dalian Shide in 2003.

Despite their recent upheaval, Esteghlal are relatively well placed in the Iran Pro League, where they sit fifth, five points behind league leaders and city rivals Persepolis.

Majidi has a little under three weeks to prepare Esteghlal for their first major test of the season on the Continental front, with the club to face either Kuwait SC or Jordan’s Al Faisaly in the 2020 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 on January 21.

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