Albania’s top striker back to Switzerland after disappointing spells in Spain, Poland

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 16, 2019 11:57

Albania’s top striker back to Switzerland after disappointing spells in Spain, Poland

By Ervin Lisaku

TIRANA, Jan. 16 – Albanian international Armando Sadiku is back to Switzerland following a disappointing one-and-a-half year spell at Poland and Spain top leagues marred by few playing opportunities and injuries that kept him off the pitch for a long time.

The 27-year-old striker has joined Switzerland’s Lugano, a team he played for about two years during 2012-2014 and half a season in 2017 before moving to Poland’s Legia Warsaw.

The transfer to Lugano, a team Sadiku considers his home is good news for the player himself who has been recovering from knee surgery following an injury in August 2018 and the Albanian national side that will have back its best striker of the past decade as it prepares for the major Euro 2020 qualifiers following a disappointing Nations League campaign.

No financial details have been disclosed from the transfer deal, but Spain’s Levante says they have let the player join on a buyback clause.

Sadiku played only six games with Levante since joining in January 2018 from Poland’s Legia Warsaw in one of his worst seasons also marred by a knee injury that ultimately put him out of the Levante’s plans.

His experience at Spain’s La Liga was more disappointing compared to Legia Warsaw where he spent half a season until January 2018, but scored seven goals in a performance that led to a €1 million transfer deal to Levante.

“I am happy to be back with Lugano. I have been receiving knee treatment for five months and I have been back training with Levante for one month and am ready to play now. I have been through some difficult months but now I am psychologically fit and want to give my best,” Sadiku has told Swiss media.

“The unfavorable experiences in Poland and Spain gave me more strength and made me get back to the highest levels,” he adds.

Sadiku joins Levante at a difficult moment at a time when the Swiss side are struggling just above the relegation zone with 19 points from 18 matches, ranking 8th in the ten-team Swiss Super League.

He joins Lugano in a bid to repeat his 2017 success when he helped them finish third and earn Europa League appearance on a half-a season loan from Zurich, scoring nine goals to help the Swiss side climb from relegation zone to a surprise top three.

Sadiku has been a key player for the national side since joining in 2012 and his absence during the second half of last year was blamed by Italian coach Chritian Panucci as one of the key reasons for the national side’s lukewarm performance at the Nations League.

The 27-year-old striker has scored 11 goals in 33 appearances with the national side helping Albania achieve a first-ever qualification at a major tournament such as Euro 2016. He also scored Albania’s sole goal at the Euro 2016 group stage games as Albania beat Romania 1-0 but failed to make it the knockout stage.

Having started his career in his hometown of Elbasan, central Albania, Sadiku played in Switzerland for six years with clubs such as Zurich and Lugano before joining Legia Warsaw in July 2017 and Levante in January 2018.

His comeback at a team such as Lugano where he is guaranteed as a starter will also help him get back to shape and earn a place at the national side ahead of the Euro 2020 kickoff.

Albania will start their Euro 2020 qualifiers on March 22, 2019 with a home encounter against Turkey, a much a much more experienced national side, but which have been struggling to qualify for major tournaments during the past decade following a golden period in the 2000s.

Albania have been drawn in a tough Euro 2020 qualifying campaign group stage with reigning world champions France and will apparently be fighting for a second spot with Iceland and Turkey in a bid to repeat their 2016 success when they earned a first ever qualification to the finals of a major tournament.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 16, 2019 11:57