Mahdi Karim announces retirement from football

Mahdi Karim has announced his retirement, ending a legendary career that spanned over 19 years.

Mahdi is one of Iraq’s longest-serving players, having played for 13 years and earning 109 caps, the ninth most in the national team’s history.

Despite playing at wingback for a large part of his career, Mahdi scored 11 times for Iraq. Most notably, he scored 4 goals in one match against Pakistan in 2007.

Mahdi was an important part of the Iraqi team this past decade, helping Iraq finish 4th in the 2004 Olympics (scoring against Costa Rica in the group stage) before winning the Asian Cup three years later. He was also a part of two more Asian Cup campaigns, as well as Iraq’s only Confederations Cup participation in 2009.

Mahdi made history when he became the first Iraqi to win a top-flight European title. He won the Cypriot League with Apollon Limassol in 2006 and followed it up with a Super Cup triumph the same year. Mahdi also played in Libya and Qatar, before returning to Iraq in 2009. His time in Libya was memorable, where he won the award for the best foreign player as well as the Goal of the Season award.

In Iraq, Mahdi won the Iraqi league on two occasions with two different teams. His first came in 2012 with Erbil while his second came two years later with Al-Shorta. He also won both the Iraq FA Cup and the Iraqi Super Cup with Al-Talaba in the 2002/03 season.

In the latter years of his career, Mahdi became an important figure as captain of Al-Talaba, who have been struggling with a number of issues. He constantly provided monetary loans to the club on top of his important leadership role as club captain.

What is your favourite memory of Mahdi Karim? Tweet us @SoccerIraq!