|Date of birth||18 November 1975|
|Place of birth||Tiranë, Albania|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Defensive Midfielder|
|2012||Bayern Munich II||3||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Altin Lala (born 18 November 1975 in Tiranë) is an Albanian former footballer who played as a midfielder. He spent his entire career in Germany and holds the appearance record (79) for the Albania national football team.
Lala was born in the capital of Albania, Tiranë, to Pashke and Dodë Lala. He grew up in the Tirana e Re neighbourhood of the capital with his parents, brother and sister, where he played football on the streets like most of the children in the area. His father wanted him to focus on his education ahead of sport, but eventually did sign up Lala to local side Dinamo Tirana.
He travelled to Germany at the age of 15 with the Albanian U-16 side in 1991, where they were staying at their training camp near the Port of Hamburg. However, Lala along with many of his teammates decided against returning to Albania and instead he sought asylum in Germany. He eventually settled at a refugee camp in Fulda, where he joined local side Borussia Fulda's youth team. As he could not speak anything other than Albanian, he relied on hand signals to communicate with the players and coaches, but after two years in the youth team he was promoted to the senior side.
On 21 July 1998, he joined newly promoted 2. Bundesliga team Hannover 96; making his debut on 30 July 1998, in a 1–0 victory over Karlsruher SC. Here, he helped the club win the promotion to the Bundesliga in 2001–02 and since has played over 149 Bundesliga games, becoming the longest-serving player within their squad. In all his time at Hannover 96, Lala has only scored one Bundesliga goal.
In 2004, he became team captain and remained so until the 2007–08 season, being popular both within the team and with fans (who have nicknamed him "The Battle Dwarf" (German: Kampfzwerg) due to his combative style of play).
In the 2007–08 season, he made 28 league appearances without scoring a goal. Lala did not make a great start to the 2008–09 season, he only managed to start in five of the opening games and to come on as a substitute in some of the other games. Hannover 96 did not make a good start either as they only managed ten wins this season.
Bayern Munich II
Despite planning his retirement once his contract with Hannover ran out in the summer of 2012, Bayern Munich II were in talks with Lala in March about joining the club on a free transfer in the summer. The idea was proposed by Lala's former teammate Michael Tarnat, a youth scout at Bayern Munich. Lala made three appearances for Bayern's reserve team before being forced to retire due to injury in October 2012.
Albania national football team
He has also enjoyed a long international career, making 79 appearances for his country since 1998, the highest in Albania's international history. He has also scored three goals for his country. His first international goal came in March 2003 in a European Qualifying match against Russia in the 79th minute. The match ended 3–1 for Albania and became one of Albania's greatest ever achievements in football. His second goal came just three months later in the 22nd minute of a thrilling 3–2 loss to Switzerland. Lala was the captain of his country's national team, ever since Igli Tare was no longer capped by former manager Otto Baric.
As of: 5 May 2012
|1996–97||Borussia Fulda||Germany||Oberliga Hessen||23||2|
|1998–99||Hannover 96||2. Bundesliga||24||3|
National team statistics
|Albania national team|
|1.||29 March 2003||Loro Boriçi Stadium, Shkoder, Albania||Russia||2 – 1||3–1||Euro 2004 qualifying|
|2.||11 June 2003||Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland||Switzerland||1 – 1||2–3||Euro 2004 qualifying|
|3.||16 August 2006||Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino||San Marino||3 – 0||3–0||Friendly|
- "Altin Lala" (in German). hannover96online.de. 17 July 2002. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
- Hoxha, Florent; Mamrud, Roberto (29 February). "Goalscoring for Albania National Team". rsssf.com. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Altin Lala at National-Football-Teams.com
- "Match Euro Qualifying : Albania vs. Russia". footballdatabase.eu. 29 March 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- "Match Euro Qualifying : Switzerland vs. Albania". footballdatabase.eu. 11 June 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- "Match Friendlies : San Marino vs. Albania". footballdatabase.eu. 16 August 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
||Hannover 96 captain
|Albania national team captain