Etrit Fadil Berisha is an Albanian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Italian club Atalanta and the Albanian national team. Berisha began his career at local club KF 2 Korriku as a youngster, as well also playing youth football with KF KEK before joining Kalmar FF in 2008, initially as part of their youth setup. He was promoted to the first team in 2010 and soon made his debut for the club and establishing himself as a first team player, making 14 league appearances in his debut season. He cemented his position as the club’s first choice keeper during the 2011 Allsvenskan campaign, helping his side achieve a mid table finish as well as reach the 2011 Svenska Cupen Final, which he did not play in and which his side lost. He scored his first professional goal from the penalty spot in a Europa League qualifier against Northern Irish side Cliftonville on 12 July 2012, and he scored another penalty just a month later in the Allsvenskan against Helsingborgs. He remained the club’s first choice goalkeeper and his performances earned him the Allsvenskan goalkeeper of the year award for the 2013 campaign that saw him score twice from the penalty spot and help his side achieve a fourth-place finish in the league. In the summer of 2013 Italian club Chievo announced that they had a pre-contract agreement in place with Berisha, but he soon joined their Serie A rivals Lazio on a four-year deal for, which caused controversy and led to the player being faced with a six-month suspension, although the case was eventually dropped against him. He competes with Italy international Federico Marchetti for the first choice goalkeeper spot at Lazio, and neither has made the position entirely their own since Berisha’s arrival. More recently Lazio’s head coach Stefano Pioli has preferred Marchetti, and Berisha’s playing time has suffered as a result as he has been limited to fewer appearances than his first season with the club. Berisha is from Kosovo but is able to represent Albania through his Albanian ethnicity, and he was first called up to the Albanian national team in 2012 by Italian head coach Gianni De Biasi where he made his international debut against Iran on 27 May 2012. He was initially a backup goalkeeper for Samir Ujkani, but after just a few games he became Albania’s first choice goalkeeper, with Ujkani switching allegiances to represent Kosovo in 2014. He played an instrumental role in Albania qualifying for its first major international tournament, as they reached Euro 2016, becoming a fan favourite in the process.
Albania vs Wales
November 20th 2018
Match Worn & Unwashed Shirt
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Berisha is known for his athleticism in goal, as well as his penalty taking ability, having scored four times and missing once from the penalty spot during his time at Kalmar FF. He stated that his favourive player and role model is the Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. Berisha was born in Pristina, in present-day Kosovo, to ethnic Albanian parents. He began his youth career at age of 8 in local side KF 2 Korriku as a midfielder before switching to a goalkeeper. At 2 Korriku he remained until the club ceased operations during the Kosovo War between 1998 and 1999. He returned to the club after the war once the club was reorganised. The club was experiencing financial difficulties so the youth players, including Berisha, moved to KF KEK in nearby Obilić/Kastriot in 2004, where he would remain until 2 Korriku was able to take in youth players once again in 2007. He soon began training with the first team at 2 Korriku and he was also invited to train with FK Bashkimi in Kumanovo, Macedonia by fellow Kosovar Albanian Bylbyl Sokoli, who was the club’s head coach at the time, in order to enjoy better facilities than those found in Kosovo.
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Berisha received his first senior international call up by the Albania national team coach Gianni De Biasi for friendlies against Qatar and Iran in May 2012. He made his debut for Albania against Iran at the İnönü Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey, playing the full 90 minutes and keeping a clean sheet in a 1–0 win. Later next month he received the Albanian citizenship on 1 June 2012 to become eligible to play for Albania national team also in competitive matches. He managed to play also in the next other friendly match against Moldova on 14 August 2012 coming on as a substitute at half-time in place of Samir Ujkani.
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On 31 July 2013, ChievoVerona announced to have signed Berisha during the summer transfer window, but Berisha himself didn’t accept this, saying that he simply had an accord with the club but didn’t sign. On 5 September 2013, after Berisha signed for Lazio, Chievo announced that they had sent the case in to the FIFA. On 11 September 2013 Lazio’s president Claudio Lotito declared that Berisha was bought and signed in the regular way according to the Transfer Window rules. On 14 September 2013 the sport director of Chievo Giovanni Sartori accused Berisha of changing his mind for more money at Lazio. On 29 January 2014 the case was re-opened as now Lazio were looking for another keeper during the winter transfer window. On 31 January 2014 the media announced that Berisha risks a 3 months suspension due to contract which he pretended to have signed. On 5 February 2014 Giovanni Sartori asked to have this case closed and the accusations dropped. On 20 March 2014 the manager of Kalmar FF, Svante Samuelson declared that everything about the transfer of their former goalkeeper Etrit Berisha, was regular. On 28 June 2014 the media announced that Berisha’s case could be closed as FIFA had not yet made a decision.