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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Costa Rican defender Michael Umaña signs with top Iranian club following World Club success

TEHRAN — Costa Rica international defender Michael Umaña has signed a two-year deal with Iranian club Persepolis.

The 32-year-old Umaña has been capped 86 times by his country and was one of the pillars on defense in Costa Rica’s stunning run to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Brazil.

Umaña fired in the game-winning penalty kick against Greece to send Costa Rica to the quarterfinals.

He was one of the players, however, to miss his kick in the quarterfinals match against the Netherlands when that match went to penalties. The Dutch won in penalty kicks, 4-3.

Umaña signed for Persepolis from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa, having also played in the United States with Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas.

“I’m very happy to join Persepolis and I hope it’ll be a positive step for the team,” said Umaña according to local media.

The Tehran-based Persepolis are, along with city rivals Esteghlal, one of the giants of the Iranian league, finishing second last season.

While most of Costa Rica’s international players will miss next month’s Central America Cup, there still remains the possibility that Umaña will rejoin the team for the tournament.

Umaña was one of two regular starters at the World Cup who still played in Costa Rica’s national league. The other player, 22-year-old Yeltsin Tejeda, is also expected to leave Costa Rica’s Saprissa and sign with a foreign squad. Tejeda will likely sign with French club Evian, although some English Premier League clubs have shown interest in the defensive midfielder.

 Tico Times reporter Matt Levin contributed to this report.

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