Berisha with Red Bull Salzburg in 2012
|Full name||Valon Berisha|
|Date of birth||7 February 1993|
|Place of birth||Malmö, Sweden|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Current club||Red Bull Salzburg|
|2012–||Red Bull Salzburg||43||(8)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 November 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Berisha is regarded as one of the biggest talents in Norwegian football, having been invited on several trials with Premier League sides at a young age. Despite this, he chose to stay in Norway where he has played top-flight football with Viking since 17-years old. He broke through as a first team regular in 2011, later making his international debut for Norway in January 2012.
Berisha was born in Sweden to Kosovar immigrants of Albanian ethnicity, but grew up in Norway, living in Egersund, a town south of Stavanger. He spent his early years at local club Egersunds IK. His manager at Egersund, Jone Mathisen recalled in a November 2010 interview with VG Nett, "even when [Berisha] was six- or seven-years old, the people here at the club knew that there was something special about him ... He is the most exciting football player I've ever seen. He has technique, speed and strength and has fantastic drive with the ball."
On 20 June 2008, at just 15-years old, Berisha made his senior debut for EIK against Staal Jørpeland IL in the Norwegian Third Division. His consistently impressive performances for Egersund impressed Viking FK, with whom he signed for in March 2009. The last game he played before moving on was also against Staal Jørpeland.
Berisha spent three trial periods with Premier League side Chelsea between the ages of 14 and 15, whilst also spending time with Manchester City and Aston Villa. The latter two clubs offered him a contract, both of which he turned down in favour of staying in Norway. Rune Hauge, a prominent football agent, theorised the thinking behind this choice in an interview with Stavanger Aftenblad: "Valon Berisha could have moved to almost every league club in England, but he would have gone straight to their academy...where nine out of ten players do not even reach the first team."
Berisha made his Tippeligaen debut against Brann on 21 March 2010, coming on for Vidar Nisja in the 85th minute. He started twelve league appearances that season, four in the starting line-up and all on the left wing. It was from the left that he scored his first professional goal on 31 October in a 1–1 draw against Lillestrøm. The goal, which showcased a 20-yard in-field dribble and shot 25 yards from goal, was nominated for Tippeligaen 2010 Goal of the Season. Berisha kept his place in the side for the season ender against Kongsvinger, where his man of the match performance inspired Viking to a 3–1 come back.
Before Tippeligaen 2011, Viking manager Åge Hareide talked up Berisha as one of the best players he's coached: "I have been coaching many years and been lucky to work with many excellent footballers. Among them, Valon is perhaps the very best. There is only Ole Gunnar Solskjær who can reach up to what he has to show." Whilst in May, Berisha won the Statoil Talent Prize, an award handed to outstanding young Norwegian footballers each month. Each winner is given the opportunity to donate a scholarship of 50,000 Norwegian kroner to the club he or she thought had the most importance to their development; Berisha chose to give the money to his first club, Egersunds IK.
As with 2010, one of his season's highlights was a goal scored from an almost replicate 25-yard shot against Lillestrøm on 3 July 2011. Throughout that year, Berisha duly became a guaranteed starter for Viking, playing 88% of possible playing time. Despite continuing to play on the left wing for most of that time, Berisha became more prominent in his favoured central attacking midfield position as the season went on, something Stig Torbjørnsen, one of Norway's most famous talent scouts, wished for prior to the season start. On 19 June 2011, Valon and his brother Veton became the first brothers to play together for Viking in 22 years since Jan and Egil Fjetland played against Molde in the 1989 Norwegian Cup final. Despite both moving to Viking from Egersund, it was the first time the Berisha brothers had played a senior game together.
At the end of 2011, English football website In Bed With Maradona picked Berisha in their continuation of Don Balón's annual list of the 100 best young players in the world. Berisha, the only Norwegian on the list, joins the likes of Neymar, Mario Balotelli, Jack Wilshere and Thiago Alcântara in "The IBWM 100: 2012 Edition".
On 15 February 2012, the day after Berisha was called up by Egil Olsen to play Northern Ireland, his agent Jim Solbakken told Stavanger Aftenblad: "We are already in talks with several clubs that have Valon Berisha high or at the very top of their list when the international transfer market opens this summer ... Now we just need to find the club that fits Berisha and who will pay a lot for him." To this, Berisha said, "I must be much better before I am ready for the league I aim to. I see [my next club] as an intermediate step, such as in the Netherlands [in Eredivisie] which focuses on young players."
Red Bull Salzburg
In July 2012, Berisha signed a deal with Red Bull Salzburg, joining the club at the same time as fellow Norwegian Håvard Nielsen After a brief illness, he made his debut against Admira on 18 August 2012. He twice assisted his compatriot Nielsen, and was involved in what was his hat trick goal in a 4–4 draw. He scored his first goal for Red Bull the next week in the 1–1 draw against Wiener Neustadt, and scored another in the 4–0 victory against Wacker Innsbruck on 1 September.
Berisha has amounted over forty appearances for all of Norway's age-specific national sides. He has played in all four of Norway under-21 side's four games during the 2013 European Under-21 Championship qualification campaign. He scored Norway's only goal in the 2–1 loss against England under-21 side.
On 23 November 2011, Berisha was called up to mostly domestic-based Norway squad for the 2012 King's Cup in Thailand. He was one of fourteen players who made their international debut at the friendly tournament which ran from 15 January until 21 January. Berisha made his debut for the national team when he replaced Alexander Søderlund as a 62nd minute substitute in a 1–1 friendly draw against Denmark League XI on 15 January 2012. He started the remaining two games of the tournament against Thailand and South Korea U23. When asked whether he agreed with the plaudits he had gained from the press and coaches at the tournament, Berisha said, "I am very happy ... I've tried to show that I can work hard both ways, that I can take initiative with or without the ball, in challenge and with speed – I feel I've managed well."
On 14 February 2012, Berisha was called up to play Northern Ireland on 29 February 2012. He was one of seven players to keep their place in the national side following the King's Cup, and the only player to be called up for the first time to a squad that also contains expatriate players.
- As of 20 November 2013
|2012–13||Red Bull Salzburg||Bundesliga||30||6||3||0||0||0||33||6|
- Lumi, Alban (11 October 2012). "Valon Berisha mund t’i bashkohet Granit Xhakës te Gladbach". Bota Sot. Retrieved 12 November 2012. "Sulmuesi shqiptar, që është zhvilluar në futbollin norvegjez The Albanian forward who has grown up in Norway's football"
- Valon Berisha på landslaget, men føler seg ikke norsk tv2.no (Norwegian)
- Hareide: – Berisha kan bli den nye Roar Strand vg.no (Norwegian)
- Nå reiser Valon (14) til Chelsea vg.no (Norwegian)
- Sa nei til City og Villa nettavisen.no (Norwegian)
- Agenter ber Berisha bli aftenbladet.no (Norwegian)
- Viking 4–0 Brann altomfotball.no (Norwegian)
- Kandidater til Årets mål i Tippeligaen 2010 tv2.no (Norwegian)
- Viking 3–1 Kongsvinger altomfotball.no (Norwegian)
- Sammenligner Berisha med Solskjær aftenposten.no (Norwegian)
- Månedens fotballtalent – Mai 2011 tv2.no (Norwegian)
- "Lillestrøms unggutter senket Viking". Norwegian News Agency (in Norwegian). 3 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- Legger om til 4–4–2 i diamant rogalandsavis.no (Norwegian)
- Se opp for disse tenåringene! vg.no (Norwegian)
- Familien Berishas store dag aftenposten.no (Norwegian)
- The IBWM 100: The Class of 2012 inbedwithmaradona.com
- Valon Berisha blir trolig solgt i sommer aftenbaldet.no (Norwegian)
- Sandberg, Fredrik Økstad (26 July 2012). "Berisha solgt til Salzburg". dagbladet.no (in Norwegian) (Dagbladet). Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Tremåls-Nielsen hyller Berisha vg.no (Norwegian)
- Skeie, Terje (25 August 2012). "Berisha reddet ett poeng for Red Bull Salzburg" (in Norwegian). TV 2. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "Berisha-mål i storseier". Norwegian News Agency (in Norwegian) (NRK). 1 September 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Under-21 England 2–1 Norway uefa.com
- Landslagstroppen til Thailand turnering fotball.no (Norwegian)
- "Elyounoussi reddet Norge: – Dette lover godt". vg.no (in Norwegian). VG. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- Norway in King's Cup 2012 football-lineups.com
- Valon Berisha: – Jeg er en ny Mini aftenposten.no (Norwegian)
- "Klokkeklar Drillo: – Carew må skifte klubb". tv2.no (in Norwegian). TV 2. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.