- Mahdi Karim
Mahdi Karim Personal information Full name Mahdi Karim Ajeel Date of birth December 10, 1983 Place of birth Baghdad, Iraq Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Playing position Right Winger, Right Wingback Club information Current club Arbil FC Number 6 Youth career 1995–1996 Al Shurta 1996–1997 Al-Khutot 1997–1998 Al-Salikh 1998–1999 Al-Shabab Senior career* Years Team Apps† (Gls)† 1999–2002 Al Naft ? (?) 2002–2005 Al Talaba ? (?) 2005–2007 Apollon Limassol 83 (10) 2007–2008 Al Ahly Tripoli 18 (11) 2008–2009 Al-Khor 19 (3) 2009– Arbil FC National team‡ 2001– Iraq 90 (12) * Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 2 January 2011
Mahdi Kareem Ajeel's successful conversion to a winger came initially came as a result of his failure claim a more central striking role in the face of competition from the likes of Younis Mahmoud. Kareem's club career began with Al Naft, where he displayed his predatory instincts by scoring regularly for the local powerhouses. However, his career as a centre-forward effectively ended when he moved to Al Talaba in 2002.
With Ala Khadim, Younis Mahmoud and Ahmed Salah all in their prime and ahead of Kareem in the pecking order for a starting place, the youngster found himself switched to the right wing. Not that it took long for the versatile player to adapt to his new position; indeed, it was on the wing that Kareem really came into his own.
Having thrived in his new role at the club level, he quickly broke into Iraqi Olympic team under Adnan Hamad. There, he formed one half of a dynamic wing duo with Hawar Mullar Mohammed, whose surging down the left flank were as significant as Kareem's in breaking down opposition defences. Both figured prominently with the Iraq junior side as they came through Asia's hard-fought qualifying round to book an appearance at Athens 2004, where they would stun the watching world by storming into the last four.
The high point of Kareem's international career had still to come, however. That arrived later in the year when Iraq won their first continental title at year's AFC Asian Cup. He also figured prominently in Iraq's qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, scoring four times in the 7-0 victory over Pakistan. This outstanding display helped earned him a move to Al Ahly Tripoli, where he has already scored 11 times in just 18 appearances. The he went to the Qatarian Club Al-Khor, where he had a great season. In 2009, Iraq played disastrous Gulf Cup. But Mahdi was one of the best players. He always fights. He never gives up. Combined with speed and a great technique, it makes him to one of the best Iraqi player ever. He played a great Confederations Cup. After that he moved to the giant Iraqi Club Arbil FC. He made great matches in the AFC Cup against Al Kuwaiti, where he also scored a goal. Mahdi is a great player and one of Iraq's hope to defend the Asian Cup Title in 2011.
- 2007 Asian Cup winner
- 4th place in 2004 Athens Olympics
- Best Foreign Player (Libyan Premier League 2007-08) (voting sponsored by Libyana and Al-Madar)
- Goal of the Season (Libyan Premier League 2007-08, against Al-Madina) (voting sponsored by Libyana and Al-Madar)
- Worst Signing of the season (Libyan Premier League 2009-10) (voting sponsored by Libyana and Al-Madar)
- Iraq Olympic team vs. Costa Rica Olympic team (Men's Olympic Football Tournament 2004) -- Mahdi scored the second goal of the game to secure Iraq a place in the quarterfinals.
- Iraq vs. Jordan (Friendly 2005) -- Mahdi scored a spectacular goal from almost half field.
- On October 22, 2007, he scored four goals in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification match against Pakistan, a game Iraq won 7-0.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition ? November 10, 2010 Sharjah India 2-0 Win Friendly Iraq squad – 2004 AFC Asian Cup Iraq squad – 2004 Olympic Games Iraq squad – 2007 AFC Asian Cup Winners (1st Title) Iraq squad – 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup Iraq squad – 2011 AFC Asian Cup
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