The sports career and biography of Javad Nekounam, the former Iranian footballer

The sports career and biography of Javad Nekounam, the former Iranian footballer

Ciku Njuguna
February 15, 2024 at 9:47 AM
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J. Nekounam
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Javad Nekounam logo
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Foolad Khozestan logo
Foolad Khozestan
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Esteghlal Tehran
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Javad Nekounam is a retired football player who graced football fields for Esteghlal FC, CA Osasuna, Saipa FC, Kuwait SC and the Iranian national football team. The retired midfielder’s soccer career is still active as he coaches Esteghlal FC in the Persian Gulf Pro League. Dig in here for every detail of the former football player who holds the record for the most Iranian caps.

Head coach of Foolad FC Javad as a coach and player
Head coach of Foolad FC Javad speaks to the press in 2023. On the right, Javad (l) and Pjanic (r) vie to head during a 2014 World Cup match. Photo by Noushad Thekkayil/NurPhoto/ Robert Cianflone.
Source: Getty Images

Javad Nekounam, the Esteghlal FC manager, has had decades of experience playing and coaching football. This article is a comprehensive deep dive into Javad Nekounam's football career, which started in the late 90s.

Javad Nekounam’s profile summary

Full name

Javad Nekounam

Nickname

Neku

Date of birth

7 September 1980

Age

43 years old as of February 2024

Place of birth

Shahr-e Rey, Tehran, Iran

Nationality

Iranian

Weight

78 kilograms (171.9 lbs)

Height

188 centimetres (6’1”)

Relationship status

Married

Spouse

Nasrin Moghadam

Children

2

Profession

Football manager, Former professional football player

Position(s) played

Defensive and central midfielder

Playing debut

July 1, 1998

Active years playing

1998 - 2016

Coaching debut

July 1, 2016

Active years coaching

2016 - present

Net worth

$1 million

Social media

Instagram, Telegram

Javad Nekounam’s brief bio

Nekounam was born on the 7th of September in 1980 (43 years old as of February 2024) in Shahr-e Rey, in Tehran, Iran, according to Transfermarkt.

Javad Nekounam's facts
Head coach of Foolad Khouzestan FC, Nekounam, attends a press conference ahead of a match against Al Faisaly FC in Doha, Qatar, on February 19, 2023. Photo by Noushad Thekkayil/NurPhoto.
Source: Getty Images

Javad Nekounam’s height is reported to be six feet and one inch tall (188 centimetres). According to MLS Soccer, the Iranian football manager weighs 171.9 lbs (78 kilograms).

Javad Nekounam’s family

As per tabloids, Javad Nekounam’s wife is Nasrin Moghadam. In 2013, the Esteghlal FC coach announced the arrival of his son, Arian, on X(Twitter). The couple has a daughter, Adeleh.

The sports career of Javad Nekounam

The Esteghlal FC coach began his football career at Naft Tehran and Pas Tehran. It remains unclear when he started playing for the youth teams. However, he swiftly climbed up the youth club ranks to join senior football squads at the age of 18.

Iran's Javad Nekonam was in action during the West Asian Games
Iran's Javad Nekonam was in action during the West Asian Games in Doha on December 8, 2005. Photo by Karim Jaafar/AFP.
Source: Getty Images

Javad Nekounam’s playing career

Until June 1998, he played for the PAS Tehran Under-19 team. Between 1998 and 2008, he proved his mettle as a defensive midfielder for teams in the UAE Pro League, Azadegan League, Qatar Stars League, Persian Gulf Pro League and La Liga.

Javad Nekounam’s playing stats

Between 1998 and 2016, the Iranian sports legend played for nine teams, including the Iranian national football team. Here is an analysis of the former defensive midfielder's performance statistics.

Team

Debut

Appearances

Goals

Assists

Al-Arabi SC

January 14, 2016

5

-

-

Saipa FC

July 5, 2015

18

3

-

Kuwait SC

January 14, 2014

9

5

-

Esteghlal FC

July 21, 2012

60

12

3

CA Osasuna

July 1, 2006

198

31

1

Sharjah FC

February 6, 2006

-

-

-

PAS Tehran

July 1, 1998

8

8

1

Iranian national football team (senior)

May 30, 2000

151

39

4

Iranian national football team (Under-23)

May 14, 1999

6

2

-

Javad Nekounam (in white) and Miralem Pjanic (in blue) go up for a header.
Javad Nekounam (in white) and Miralem Pjanic (in blue) go up for a header during the World Cup match between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran on June 25, 2014, in Brazil. Photo by Robert Cianflone.
Source: Getty Images

Javad Nekounam’s coaching career

On June 21, 2023, he took up his current position at Esteghlal FC. He debuted as an assistant football manager for the Iranian national football team under head coach Carlos Queiroz. As of February 2024, he had received six coaching appointments with Persian Gulf Pro League's Foolad Khuzestan FC, naming him twice for the post.

Javad Nekounam’s coaching stats

As a coach, the former defensive midfielder prefers the 4-2-3-1 tactic. Since 2016, he has headed five teams, leading them to 192 matches with 86 wins, 67 draws and 39 losses. Have a look at this summary of his performance as a coach.

Team

Debut

Matches

Wins

Draws

Losses

Esteghlal FC

June 21, 2023

15

9

5

1

Foolad Khuzestan FC

May 21, 2019

130

55

46

29

FC Nassaji Mazandaran

February 27, 2018

26

11

9

6

Khooneh Be Khooneh Mazandaran

August 13, 2017

21

11

7

3

Iranian national football team

July 1, 2016

10

-

-

-

Head coach of Foolad Khouzestan FC Javad Nekounam attends a press conference.
Head coach of Foolad Khouzestan FC Javad Nekounam attends a press conference ahead of a match against Al Faisaly FC in Doha, Qatar, on 19 February 2023. Photo by Noushad Thekkayil/NurPhoto.
Source: Getty Images

Awards

The retired Iranian international has bagged many awards as a player and coach, including the 2016 Golden Ball of Iranian Football's Best Midfielder of the Year. Here is a summary of his awards and titles as a player and coach.

  • 2020/21 Iranian Cup winner - Hazfi Cup
  • 2021/22 Iranian Super Cup Champion
  • 2013 Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year nominee
  • 2013 AFC Champions League Dream Team
  • 2006 Iranian Footballer of the Year

Frequently asked questions

‘Nek-ou-nam, Nek-ou-nam!’ chants during his playing era made him one of the most successful Persian football players. Javan has had significant success as a football player and a coach. In 2010, he kept Iran's World Cup dreams alive with a goal against South Korea during a WC Qualifying match. Here is a list of facts about the Persian FOOTBALL manager.

Javad Nekonam (in white) attempts to head a goal
Javad Nekonam (in white) attempts to head a goal during the Asian Cup match between Iran and Iraq at Canberra Stadium on January 23, 2015, in Australia. Photo by Stefan Postles.
Source: Getty Images

1. What is Javad Nekounam’s net worth?

According to Idol Net Worth, the former defensive midfielder’s net worth is estimated to be $1 million. Other publications suggest that his accumulated wealth is worth between $1 million and $5 million.

2. What is the Esteghlal coach's salary?

Details of Nekounam's salary at Esteghlal FC have not been revealed to the public. However, the club has experienced salary woes with its previous football managers. After failed negotiations, Italian football coach Andrea Stramaccioni abruptly left the club, disrupting the club's winning streak. Fans can only hope that a repeat of the 2019 incident does not occur.

3. Is Javad Nekounam on Instagram?

The football manager has an active presence on social media through Instagram. As of February 2024, he had one million followers.

Iran's Javad Nekonam (r) and Iraq's Younus Mahmood (l) battle for possession.
Iran's Javad Nekonam (r) and Iraq's Younus Mahmood (l) battle for possession during the Asian Cup match at Canberra Stadium on January 23, 2015, in Australia. Photo by Stefan Postles.
Source: Getty Images

Final word

Nenad Bjelica has had an impressive run as a coach, leading his teams to significant accomplishments such as Foolad FC's 2021 Iranian Cup and 2022 Iranian Super Cup titles. Given his track record leading top-tier Persian teams, he has distinguished himself as one of the most successful managers in the region.

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In November 2023, he was appointed to head one of the Bundesliga's first-tier teams, Union Berlin. Take a deep dive into the details of the Croatian manager's personal and professional life.

Authors
Ciku Njuguna photo
Ciku Njuguna
Ciku Njuguna is a journalist with 3 year’s experience in content creation based in Kenya. She currently covers sports personnel as well as team biographies.