Albanian goalkeeper makes Lazio debut

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 21, 2016 17:04

Albanian goalkeeper makes Lazio debut

Story Highlights

  • “I am very happy for my debut, but against AC Milan the result is what mattered most and I am very disappointed in this respect," said the player who is following in his father’s footsteps, former Albanian international Foto Strakosha. “My family were all so happy. My father was even more stressed out than me for my debut, maybe even more anxious than when he played himself," he added.

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Albanian goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha

TIRANA, Sept. 21 – Albania's 21-year-old goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha made his Serie A debut with Lazio this week, proving he could be the number one choice for coach Simone Inzaghi despite conceding two goals by AC Milan strikers which he could do nothing to save.

Strakosha was lucky to make it to the starting lineup of one of Italy's best teams after veteran goalkeeper Federico Marchetti picked up a warm-up injury just before kick-off.

"I am very happy for my debut, but against AC Milan the result is what mattered most and I am very disappointed in this respect," said the player who is following in his father's footsteps, former Albanian international Foto Strakosha.

"My family were all so happy. My father was even more stressed out than me for my debut, maybe even more anxious than when he played himself," he added.

Goalkeeper Strakosha returned to his Serie A club Lazio after spending one season on loan to Salernintana in Serie B.   He will earn €100,000 this season.

Lazio's sporting director, former Albanian international Igli Tare said the whole team trusts Strakosha.

"It doesn't often happen to make your debut at San Siro. Thomas has grown a lot professionally and it is no coincidence he was called up in the national team. For me, he deserved this opportunity to play in the starting XI because the whole club and team are fully confident in him," said Tare.

Italian sports portals rated Strakosha among Lazio's best players in the fixture with AC Milan, saying he could do nothing about the two goals, one-on-one with Milan striker Bacca and a penalty shot from Niang.

"Two perfect first-half interventions saved Lazio from a bigger defeat," wrote Calciomercato portal.

Thomas Strakosha is now the only Albanian player with Lazio after the departure of national side's goalkeeper Etrit Berisha and former Albanian captain Lorik Cana. Former Albanian international Igli Tare has been serving as Lazio's sporting director since he quit professional football with Lazio in 2008.

Goalkeeper Etrit Berisha moved to Atalanta on loan from Lazio this season because of few playing opportunities. Former Albanian captain Lorik Cana has also taken some time off following Albania's Euro 2016 debut after an unsuccessful spell with France's Nantes in the previous season. The much-traveled defender who recently quit the national side spent some of his best years with Lazio which he played for four years until Sept. 2015 when he moved to Nantes.

Thomas Stratkosha joined Lazio in 2012 after starting his youth career in Greece with Panionios. The talented goalkeeper also recently received his first call by coach De Biasi for the Morocco friendly and the World Cup qualifier against neighboring Macedonia which Albania narrowly won 2-1 following a late header in a match that resumed after 15 hours following heavy rain interrupting the game on Sept. 5.

Some eight Albanian players play in the top Italian Serie A league with Napoli's right-back Elseid Hysaj as the best rated player.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 21, 2016 17:04