Saeid Marouf is leaving a gaping hole in Iran's - and indeed world volleyball - after he announced his withdrawal from the national team after they failed to make the quarterfinals of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Year in Review: 'Wizard' Saeid Marouf bids farewell
Iran's master setter announces retirement after Olympic disappointment
Published 08:00, 09 Jan 2022
"I would like to say goodbye to volleyball in silence, but well, this is a good time to talk. See you soon," wrote setter and captain Marouf in his farewell message on Instagram.
Despite a brilliant opening to their Tokyo 2020 campaign - including a stunning victory over reigning world champions Poland - Iran failed to make the last eight, following defeat in the deciding match against hosts Japan after an epic five-set battle.
The two-time Olympian (Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020) has enjoyed an amazing career with several clubs in Iran and has ventured abroad to showcase his playmaking talent in Russia, Italy and China.
At national team level he moved up the ranks through Iran's U19 and U21 teams before joining the senior team in 2005, winning numerous medals at continental and world level, as well as a host of individual awards.
Marouf's departure could be a big blow to Iran. However, Marouf, 35, leaves a lasting legacy for sport in Iran, having helped shape the national team into the world volleyball power it is today. And for fans around the world he has certainly provided entertainment like few others before him, while inspiring younger generations of setters with his masterful playmaking.