Albania international claims fifth straight title in Azerbaijan

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 23, 2018 17:44

Albania international claims fifth straight title in Azerbaijan

TIRANA, April 23 – Former Albania captain Ansi Agolli has claimed his fifth championship in row with Qarabag, a team that made history in the Azerbaijani football this season when they became the first local club to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage.

The 35-year old midfielder who also served as Albania’s captain in the past couple of years has been playing with Qarabag for eight seasons now, but says he will continue to play as long as he feels well physically and his passion for football doesn’t wane.

“I feel very well and hope to continue as long as possible with Qarabag because after almost eight years here I feel at home and everything is on track,” Agolli told a local sports portal.

“The important thing in football, but even in other fields is the passion that you have for what you do and I will not stop as long as I have that passion and am physically fit,” he added.

Qarabag become the first Azerbaijani club to make it to the UEFA Champions League group stage this season managing to get two points in home and away draws with Athletic Madrid in a tough group stage with Roma and Chelsea advancing to the knockout phase.

A regular starter for Qarabag, the Albanian left back is seen as a hero in his club. In 2016, he was named Azerbaijan’s the best foreign player by Azerbaijan’s football association.

Agolli, who this year turns 36, was left out of the Albania squad for the first Norway friendly Albania played last March, ahead of the Nations League campaign.

Albania narrowly lost 1-0 the home friendly, producing one of the worst performances in years.

Albania’s Italian coach Christian Panucci said he had decided to leave out Ansi Agolli because of his age and was considering a replacement for him given the fact that he turns 38 during the 2020 qualifying campaign.

His decision was met with criticism by some former players and coaches.

Agolli played 29 games this season for Qarabg who mathematically secured their fifth straight title, with four other games to go.

Albania will play two home friendlies against Wales and Jordan next October and November during the ‘free’ international match days of the Nations League competition.

It remains unclear whether Agolli, a midfielder with a lot of experience who has 73 caps for Albania since 2005, will be called up.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 23, 2018 17:44