Esteghlal goalkeeper and captain Mehdi Rahmati has spoken of his team’s readiness ahead of their clash with Al-Sadd in the playoff round of the 2017 AFC Champions League.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Rahmati said: “I really want to be a part of the team that adds a third Asian title to Esteghlal’s collection. When Esteghlal won their second Asian title, they opened the tournament with a win against Al-Sadd. And so, I am very optimistic about this start.”
The captain went on to add: “We are going through a tough phase in the club because of the bans which were placed on us by the AFC. But we all have sworn to give our best on Tuesday and raise the flag of our club and country in Asia.”
As for the fan support, Rahmati said: “I hope the fans prove once again that our team is the best supported team in Asia. Most our our players are from the youth category and fan support has a strong effect on them.”
Asked about Xavi playing for Al-Sadd, Rahmati said: “Xavi might the best players who has visited us in the last 40 years. He is a player who won all possible silverware in the world of football. When he sees our great fans tomorrow he will know the many Iranians support Barcelona and adore Xavi. These things won’t distract us. On the pitch, he is an opponent and I hope things go in our favour.”
He also said: “We know Al-Sadd’s playing style very well and we know the movements of their players well. I have watched all the goals Al-Sadd scored this season and I know who takes the free kicks and who take the penalties and how they do it.”