“Persepolis is one of the most popular, maybe the most popular, clubs in Asia because they have 30 million followers.”

“If you are a player or a coach with Persepolis and you travel anywhere in the world you will meet an Iranian person somewhere in some street that will recognise you and run to you and talk about how you won or lost or how you performed in a particular match. That’s the kind of passion that fans of Persepolis have.

“Obviously it means a lot to Japanese football, and obviously it means a lot to Kashima fans, but multiply that maybe by 10, or even more, and that’s what it means to Iranian fans because football has a different place in the hearts of Iranian people, and Persepolis has a very special place for Iranian fans. Persepolis fans are born and die as Persepolis fans, that’s how they are.”

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