Burim Kukeli

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Burim Kukeli
Personal information
Full name Burim Nue Kukeli
Date of birth (1984-01-16) 16 January 1984 (age 31)
Place of birth Gjakova, Kosovo
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 20
Youth career
1994–2003 Solothurn
2003–2004 Wangen bei Olten
2004–2005 Zofingen
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2005 Zofingen 21 (4)
2005–2007 Schötz 25 (6)
2008–2012 Luzern 103 (3)
2012– Zürich 32 (1)
National team
2012– Albania 9[1] (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 March 2015.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 29 March 2015

Burim Kukeli (born 16 January 1984) is a Albanian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Swiss club FC Zürich and the Albania national team. Due to his playmaking and accurate long passing ability, he's compared with "master" of the football Andrea Pirlo.[2]


Early career[edit]

Kukeli was born in Gjakova, SAP Kosovo, SFR Yugoslavia, but moved to Switzerland along with his family at the age of four.[3] [4] He started his youth career at age of 9 with the Solothurn youth academies.[5] [3] Later he was in the squad of Wangen bei Olten and SC Zofingen.[5]


With Zofingen he played 21 matches and scored 4 goals during the 2004–05 season of the Swiss 3rd league.[6] He also managed to play a full 90-minutes match, valid for the Swiss Cup against Schaffhausen, finished in the 1–5 loss.


He moved to FC Schötz during the 2005 Summer Transfers Window. In the 2005–06 season of the 1. Liga Promotion (Swiss 3rd league) Kukeli played in total 11 matches all as a starter and in only 1 substituted off, also he scored 4 goals and where Schötz relegated to the 1. Liga Classic (Swiss 4th league) for the next season.[6]

Kukeli missed out the entire 2006–07 season of 1. Liga Classic due to an long injury. Schötz were promoted again in the 1. Liga Promotion.[6]

During the 2007–08 season first half Kukeli made it 14 Appearances and scored 2 goals. He played 1 match in the Swiss cup against Mendrisio, which finished in the 3–1 loss, where Kukeli himself played a full 90-minutes match.[6]


In January 2008 Kukeli was boughted from Luzern during the Winter Transfers Window for the second-half of the 2007–08 season.[5]

Kukeli made it his first professional debut at age of 23 with Luzern on Swiss Super League during the 2007–08 season. He finished his first season with Luzern with 10 matches played.[6]

He suffered an injury which kept him out of play from the first-half of the 2008–09 season. He played first match of the 2008–09 season only in the second-half when he came in as a substittue in the 85th minute for Davide Chiumiento in the 2–3 loss against Young Boys on 15 February 2009.[7] The second and last match of that season would came on 30 May 2009 where he played as a starter in the 2–1 victory against Neuchâtel Xamax.[8]


On 15 April 2012 it was announced that Kukeli had agreed to join his former FCL coach Rolf Fringer at FC Zürich in the summer.[9] Kukeli signed for Zürich a three-years contract until June 2015.[5]

He made it his first debut for Zürich on 15 July 2012 against exactly his latest club Luzern, in the opening match of the 2012–13 season, which finished in the 0–0 away draw and Kukeli played the full 90-minutes match.[10] He played 12 matches for the entire 2012–13 season's first-half and all as a starter where substituted off only in 1 match.

Long-time injury[edit]

On 3 February 2013, Zürich were playing a test match against AC Bellinzona and in to the 72nd minute of the game, it came to a battle between Kukeli and Simon Grether, were Kukeli injured with a tibia and fibula fracture in the leg.[11] It was named as a "horrorr" injury were his leg clearly seen with the naked eye that nearly broke away from other part and went completely in the reverse side. Player slammed into the ground, and colleagues, technical staffs of both teams, as well as over 400 fans in the stadium were shocked and the referee stopped the game immediately. After the intervention of doctors were urgently called ambulances. After about 5 minutes on the field, Kukeli stretcher was taken initially and then was transported to the hospital. After this serious incident, none of the players was not able to play, so the referee rightly canceled it.[12] On 19 February 2014 medical doctors announced that Kukeli will remain 9 months out of the pitch until his recovery.[13] In January 2014, with came of a fellow Albanian player Armando Sadiku in Zürich, Kukeli returned to the team training.[14] His first match after recovery from the long injury came on 14 January 2014, in a friendly match against MSV Duisburg but there were shown that he was still unrecovered from the injury, as he replaced in the first-half of the match.[15] In the next month February, Kukeli declared that he was returned at this time to the full-training.[16] On March 2014, media reported that a wrong medication in his leg, resulted to cause him an infectation and he was operated again for the second time and on 28 April when he was ready to came on the pitch, doctors suggested him to make another operation and he come to be operated again for the 3rd time.[17]

Due to the injury Kukeli did not played any match and even called up for the team fixtures, missing the 2012–13 season second half and also the entire 2013–14 season.[18]

Return from the long injury[edit]

On 11 June 2014 the Zürich coach Urs Meier declared that Kukeli trained again fully with the team among his team-mate Alain Nef, also returned from the injury, also they were back on track as the two veterans recount their long injury lay-offs for us almost as inflows.[19] On 14 June 2014 Kukeli played in the first pre-season test match of the Zürich against Vaduz coming on as a substitute for the second-half in place of Ederson, where the test match finished in the 1–0 victory.[20] On 24 June 2014 Kukeli played as a starter in another test match against Austria Lustenau finished in the 0–2 victory and where Kukeli played only in the first half as he got substituted off for Yapi in the second half.[21]

2014–15 season[edit]

Kukeli played his first match after the long-time injury on 20 July 2014 in the opening match of the 2014–15 season against Grasshopper finished in the 1–0 victory for Zürich, where Kukeli himself gave the assist for the victory goal scored by Davide Chiumiento, also he registered an full 90-minutes match.[22] He played another 90-minutes full match on 23 July 2014 in the next fixture match against Thun, finished in the 2–1 victory.[23]

After a short time from the recovery, Kukeli injured once again during the match between Basel and Zürich (4–1) where according to magnetic resonance was assigned diagnosis that he damaged legs' muscle and will recover in 3 weeks.[24] He returned soon from the injury and played as a starter in the 0–2 victory on 31 August 2014 against St. Gallen.[25] Kukeli scored his first goal for Zürich on 5 October 2014 in the 11th game week of the 2014–15 season against Vaduz, where he scored the opening goal in the 5th minute, an goal which successed by a double-goal from Marco Schönbächler in the 15' and 24' minutes to fix the result in the 3–0 victory.[26]

International career[edit]

Kukeli received a call from Albania's coach, Gianni de Biasi in May 2012 for the friendlies against Qatar and Iran, but he declined because he was too tired at that time and needed rest after the end of the season, but however he said that he would respond positively in the future.[27] In 24 August 2012, it was reported that the Albanian government had started the procedures to give him an Albanian citizenship by the end of August 2012, so that he could play for Albania in the qualifiers of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification.[28] He received the Albanian citizenship on 4 September 2012 among with fellow Albanian descent Alban Meha and so were able to play for Albania.[29]

Kukeli made it his debut by playing 90 minutes in a 3–1 victory against Cyprus on 7 September 2012, match valid for the opening of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiiers - Group E.[30] He played another 3 matches in a row, even valids for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiiers - Group E in September and October months and also all as a starter,[31] [32] where the only match which he substituted off was in the 2–0 loss against Switzerland 4 days after his debut, on 15 October where his place was left for Jahmir Hyka in the 72nd minute.[33] Then due to his long-time injury at Zürich, he missed out other matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiiers - Group E, where was and 6 matches left from 10 in total.

After 2 years he returned to the national team after the injures, as he called up to play against Portugal on 7 September 2014, match valid for the start of another competition where Albania participates, the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers.[34] He played for Albania after the long injury on 7 September 2014 in the opening match of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers against Portugal, where he played as a starter and substituted off for Ergys Kaçe in the 66th minute as the match finished in the away 0–1 victory.[35]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 22 March 2015 [6][36]
Season Club League country League League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2004–05 Zofingen 1. Liga Promotion (3rd.) 21 4 1 0 - - 22 4
2005–06 Schötz 11 4 - - - - 11 4
2006–07 1. Liga Classic (4th.) injured for the entire season
2007–08 1. Liga Promotion (3rd.) 14 2 1 0 - - 15 2
Total 25 6 1 0 0 0 26 6
2007–08 Luzern Swiss Super League 10 0 - - - - 10 0
2008–09 2 0 - - - - 2 0
2009–10 34 2 2 0 - - 36 2
2010–11 28 0 1 0 2 0 31 1
2011–12 29 1 3 0 - - 32 1
Total 103 3 6 0 2 0 111 3
2012–13 Zürich Swiss Super League 12 0 - - - - 12 0
2013–14 injured for the entire season
2014–15 15 1 0 0 5 0 20 1
Total 27 1 0 0 5 0 32 1
Career total 176 14 8 0 7 0 191 14

International caps[edit]

As of 29 March 2015
Albania national team
Year Apps Goals
2012 4 0
2013 - -
2014 4 0
2015 1 0
Total 9 0





  1. ^ (10 – Kukeli has played in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Serbia on 14 October 2014 in Belgrade, a match which was abandoned in the 42nd minute due to incidents that happened during the match. Serbia was awarded 3–0 victory but deducted 3 points.)
  2. ^ Andrea Pirlo / Burim Kukeli - FIFA 14 - FUTWIZ
  3. ^ a b Ekskluzive: Burim Kukeli “PËR” Shqipërinë | aSport.info - Albania Sport
  4. ^ Kukeli: I lumtur që do luaj për Shqipërinë
  5. ^ a b c d FCZ Profis | News | Burim Kukeli wechselt zum FC Zürich
  6. ^ a b c d e f Burim Kukeli | National Football Teams
  7. ^ Luzern vs. Young Boys - 15 February 2009 - Soccerway
  8. ^ Luzern vs. Neuchâtel Xamax - 30 May 2009 - Soccerway
  9. ^ It has been confirmed by FC Luzern that defensive midfielder Burim Kukeli has agreed a move to join FC Zürich in the summer.
  10. ^ Luzern vs. Zürich - 15 July 2012 - Soccerway
  11. ^ FCZ professionals | News | Burim Kukeli fights back
  12. ^ Horror në miqësoren e Zyrihut, Burim Kukeli thyen këmbën, shumë kohë jashtë fushave
  13. ^ Mjeku jep verdiktin për Kukelin, mesfushori kthehet pas 9 muajsh - Sporti Shqiptar Online - Sporti Shqiptar Online
  14. ^ Sadiku dhe Kukeli, bashkë te Zyrihu
  15. ^ Sadiku e nis me gol te Zurichu | aSport.info - Albania Sport
  16. ^ Burim Kukeli ende nuk po e merr veten pas dëmtimit
  17. ^ Mjekimi i gabuar, Burim Kukeli operohet tri herë
  18. ^ Albania - B. Kukeli - Profile with news, CAREER STATS., MATCHES and history - Soccerway
  19. ^ Pressespiegel - Ein Torjäger und viel junges Blut
  20. ^ FCZ Profis | News | 1:0-Sieg im ersten Testspiel gegen Vaduz
  21. ^ FCZ Profis | News | FCZ schlägt Austria Lustenau mit 2:0
  22. ^ Zürich vs. Grasshopper - 20 July 2014 - Soccerway
  23. ^ Zürich vs. Thun - 23 July 2014 - Soccerway
  24. ^ Burim Kukeli i pafat, dëmtohet përsëri | aSport.info - Albania Sport
  25. ^ St. Gallen vs. Zürich - 31 August 2014 - Soccerway
  26. ^ Zürich vs. Vaduz - 5 October 2014 - Soccerway
  27. ^ SportKosova (May 13, 2012). "Kukeli i zene per Shqiperine". 
  28. ^ Koha Net (August 24, 2012). "Kukeli nuk e di që FSHF-ja e do në Kombëtare". 
  29. ^ Zyrtare: Alban Meha e Burim Kukeli marrin pasaportat shqiptare (Foto) | aSport.info - Albania Sport
  30. ^ Të vuajtur, por mbarë. Shqipërisë i vjen fitorja nga stoli 9/7/2012 Panorama Sport
  31. ^ Albania vs. Iceland - 12 October 2012 - Soccerway
  32. ^ Albania vs. Slovenia - 16 October 2012 - Soccerway
  33. ^ Switzerland vs. Albania - 11 September 2012 - Soccerway
  34. ^ De Biazi flet për ndeshjen me Portugalinë - (Në fund trajneri i Kombëtares së Shqipërisë publikoi edhe listën me 24 lojtarë të grumbulluar për këtë takim. Ata janë:) - FSHF.org
  35. ^ Portugal vs. Albania - 7 September 2014 - Soccerway
  36. ^ Burim Kukeli profile at Soccerway

External links[edit]