Melbourne City star Daniel Arzani has accepted a call-up to the Iran national team for their upcoming World Cup friendlies after being snubbed by new Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk.

A sensation this season for the Citizens, Arzani’s performances have had fans and media calling for his selection in the Australia national team but with short-term World Cup goals in place, van Marwijk has put his faith in senior players already experienced at international level.

Iran have capitalised on Australia’s failure to secure the cap of the 19-year-old with the Lions of Persia calling up Arzani for their upcoming matches against Algeria and Uzbekistan.

“Daniel is a player we have been looking at for a number of weeks and we are pleased to secure him as an Iranian national team player,” said head coach Carlos Queiroz.

“Obviously Daniel will have to work hard and prove himself deserving of a final World Cup spot, but with his talent at such a young age and his national allegiance up for grabs, it was common sense to cap him now and secure him for Iran’s future.”

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With a view to making Iran’s final 23 for the 2018 Russia World Cup, Arzani said he was pleased to put the distraction of his international allegiance to bed.

“I’m very proud to have been called up by Iran, they are the nation of my birth and I look forward to furthering my development by playing international football,” said Arzani.

“While disappointed not to have been given the chance to play in the World Cup for Australia, van Marwijk’s snub has made my choice a lot easier as Iran are my only current option.

“In truth, the writing was on the wall after the latest coaching announcement. Normally I would have waited patiently for a call-up from the Socceroos but what’s the point when all I’ll get at the end is Graham Arnold.”

Update: We hope you enjoyed our April Fools joke for 2018! Fingers crossed that it isn’t a prophetic one. 

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