Abdi at Watford, April 2015
|Full name||Almen Abdi|
|Date of birth||21 October 1986|
|Place of birth||Prizren, SFR Yugoslavia (now Kosovo)|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2012–2013||→ Watford (loan)||38||(12)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:53, 02 May 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Almen Abdi (born 21 October 1986) is a Swiss footballer of Kosovar and Bosniak descent who plays as an attacking midfielder for Watford, having played for Zürich, Le Mans and Udinese. He has also been capped by the Switzerland national team.
Abdi started his football career at Zürich, where he came through the ranks of the FC Zürich youth academy. After one year at the club, Abdi made his professional debut at age seventeen in the 2003–04 season, coming on as a substitute for Arthur Petrosyan in the 89th minute, in a 2–1 loss against Basel. Throughout his first three seasons at Zürich, Abdi featured little, and mostly remained a bench player. However, the 2006–07 season was Abdi's breakthrough season, making more appearances than ever and establishing himself as a first team starter. During the 2006–07 season, Abdi would make his Champions League debut in the second qualification round against Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, after coming on as a substitute. He scored his first league goal on 29 July 2006, in a 2–0 win over Schaffhausen.
Abdi was part of the 2005–06, 2006–07 and 2008–09 Swiss Championship winning Zürich squad. He was awarded an improved contract in June 2006 which would last until the summer of 2010. Having finished as the club's top goalscorer in the 2008–09 league campaign with 19 goals and adding an impressive 12 assists, Abdi was not only named the best midfielder in the Swiss Super League, but also presented with the season's Best Swiss Player Award. In the 2009–10 season, Abdi was dropped to the FC Zürich reserve team in November 2009, alongside team-mate Andrés Vasquez, with FC Zürich stating they were planning for the future without the duo.
In January 2010, Abdi was transferred to Le Mans on a six-month contract with the option to extend it at a later date, should the club remain in Ligue 1. However, Le Mans failed to avoid relegation to Ligue 2 at the end of the campaign, with Abdi making a total of 13 appearances.
In April 2010, Abdi confirmed that he would be joining Udinese in the summer once he became a free agent. In Udine, he made 19 appearances in the 2010–11 season, most of them coming from the bench. In the 2011–2012 season, Abdi scored his first goal for the Friulian club in the Europa League on 29 September 2011, converting the penalty to equalize against Celtic at Celtic Park. Shortly after, there was a rumour of Abdi making a return to Zürich. But Abdi denied any rumor of him being linked to Zürich, insisting he felt fine and settled at Udinese.
In July 2012, Abdi trained with Watford with a view to a possible loan. He featured in the Championship side's first three pre-season friendlies, and later joined the club on a season-long loan for the 2012–13. Abdi scored his first goal for Watford on his league debut against Crystal Palace on 18 August 2012. In November 2012, Abdi soon injured his shoulder, dislocating it in the process. Following four weeks of regeneration, he returned to the bench and came on as a substitute during the 2–1 home loss against Hull City on 8 December 2013. Abdi made it three league goals in as many games with his effort against Birmingham City on 16 February 2013, taking his total goal tally to 9. Abdi had netted in the previous two games against Bolton Wanderers and Crystal Palace. Abdi then scored his 10th goal of the season with a sumptuous free kick in a 1–1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on 1 March 2013. Towards the end of the season, Abdi reportedly stated his desire to remain at Watford on a permanent basis, having become the club's fan favorite. In early May 2013, he picked up the Hornets’ Player of the Season award.
On 19 July 2013, Watford FC confirmed that Abdi had signed a three-year deal on a permanent basis.
Having not appeared for Watford FC due to a severe case of plantar fasciitis since 31 August 2013, Abdi made his long-awaited comeback as a 75th minute substitute in a 2–0 FA Cup third round replay victory over Bristol City on 14 January 2014. Abdi then made his league return four days later, as a first-half substitute against Bournemouth on 18 January 2014, coming on for the injured Iriney.
On 30 August 2014, in a Championship home match against Huddersfield Town, Abdi scored his first ever brace for Watford FC. The game ended 4–2, with Abdi providing the goals to make it 2–1 and 4–2 respectively. Furthermore, Abdi also contributed one assist in the same game.
- "Player Details: Almen Abdi". The English National Football Archive. SoccerData. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "Almen Abdi" (in French). L'Équipe. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "Almen Abdi". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "Almen Abdi footballer and hockey Reto von Arx honored at Biel" [Le footballeur Almen Abdi et le hockeyeur Reto von Arx honorés à Bienne] (in French). RFJ. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "2008/09 – Swiss Golden Player Award" (in German). Golden Player. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Zürich drop midfield duo". UEFA. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "FC Zurich Drop Almen Abdi & Andres Vasquez". Goal.com. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Almen Abdi au MUC 72" (in French). Le Mans FC. 3 January 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "Abdi to leave Zürich for Le Mans". UEFA. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- D'Andrea, Rick (7 April 2010). "Former Zurich Midfielder Almen Abdi Ready To Sign For Udinese". Goal.com. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- McGuire, Annie (29 September 2011). "Celtic 1–1 Udinese". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "Almen Abdi Returns to FCZ back?" [Kehrt Almen Abdi zum FCZ zurück?] (in German). Blick. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Udinese, Abdi: "Return to Zurich?'m Fine here"" [Udinese, Abdi: "Tornare allo Zurigo? Sto bene qui"] (in Italian). Tutto Mercato Web. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Smith, Frank (17 July 2012). "Loan trio expected to remain". Watford Observer. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Official: Hornets delighted with a magnificent seven signings". Watford Football Club. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Crystal Palace 2–3 Watford". BBC. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Watford's Almen Abdi suffers shoulder dislocation". BBC Sport. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Almen Abdi confident Watford can secure automatic promotion". Watford Observer. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Almen Abdi named Watford's Player of the Season and Cristian Battocchio scores top goal". Watford Observer. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- "Watford sign Almen Abdi, Cristian Battocchio, Gabriele Angella, Diego Fabbrini, Javier Acuna, Marco Davide Faraoni, Marco Cassetti and Daniel Pudil". Watford Observer. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- "Watford's head of medical says there is no time frame on Almen Abdi's return". Watford Observer. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- "robbed Abdi!" [Abdi ausgeraubt!] (in German). Blick. 24 April 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Almen Abdi: "Gokhan Inler helps me a lot in Udinese»" [Almen Abdi: "Gökhan Inler hilft mir viel in Udinese"] (in German). Blick. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2013.