Bulku with the Albania national team in 2013.
|Date of birth||3 March 1981|
|Place of birth||Tirana, Albania|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Midfielder / Right Back|
|Albania (assistant coach)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Ervin Bulku (Albanian pronunciation: [ervin bulku], born 3 March 1981) is an Albanian retired footballer and current assistant manager of Albania national team. He was an Utility player and played in many positions such as Central midfielder, Defensive midfielder, Right Midfielder and even Right Defender for the Albania national team in years 2002–2015 and in the club level with Tirana where he started and ended his career after playing for various club outside such as Kryvbas in Ukraine, Hajduk Split in Croatia, AZAL Baku in Azerbaijan and Sepahan in Iran. He is also the younger brother of former KF Tirana's footballer Sokol Bulku.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Managerial career
- 4 Career statistics
- 5 The Bulku Cult
- 6 Honours
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Bulku started his career as a youngster in the KF Tirana youth teams. At the age of 18 he was put into the first team by coach Sulejman Mema and was given a chance to break into the first team and compete with the likes of Sokol Prenga and Ardian Mema for a spot in the first team. in his first season with the club and in professional football he managed to feature in 13 games during the season. During the 1999–2000 season with Tirana, Bulku found it easier to make an impact in the first team with the club's new manager Shkëlqim Muça having faith in the promising youngster and fellow midfielders Eldorado Merkoçi, Devis Mukaj, Klodian Duro and Sokol Prenga all leaving the club. These departures meant that Bulku would feature more frequently in the first team and he did so making an impressive 21 appearances in his second season in which he won his first trophie of his career, the Albanian Superliga title. After a very good season he tried to repeat it for the 2000–2001 season, this did not happen as both injury and some mediocre displays meant that Bulku spent most of the season on the side lines. He did however manage to win the Albanian Supercup at the start of the season but his side Tirana narrowly lost the race for the title to Vllaznia. During the next few seasons of his career Bulku managed to make a name for himself in the squad and in the league, he was receiving a lot of attention from the media and the fans because he was destined for a successful career. He began to feature in almost every game when fit and became a key member in the squad and a key figure in all the trophy winning sides that the club produced over the next few years. Bulku was also a key player in Tirana's European games and featured against teams such as Dinamo Tbilisi, Ferencváros, CSKA Sofia and Kayserispor. He also played in 6 Albanian Supercup finals during his time with Tirana, winning 5 of them, including the famous 6–0 win over city rivals Dinamo Tirana in which Bulku managed to score in. In his final season with SK Tirana, Bulku was once again a key member in the team that won the league, the cup and the supercup. He played 30 games and scored one goal in the league, played in the 2–0 supercup win over KS Elbasani and he also played in 1–0 win over Vllaznia in the final of the Albanian Cup.
In the summer transfers 2007 Bulku signed with Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih in the Ukrainian Premier League. He played among fellow Albanian compatriots Dorian Bylykbashi, Isli Hidi and also Ansi Agolli who joined the club two years later. He made it his debut on 28 July 2007 against Karpaty Lviv in the loss 3–0. He finished 2007–08 season with a total of 19 appearances, where 14 in the starting line up.
He started the 2008–09 season on 19 July 2008, playing 90-minutes in the victory 1–0 against Metalurh Zaporizhya. Bulku scored his first goal with Kryvbas on 22 March 2009 against Kharkiv, giving his team the victory 0–1. He managed to score the second goal in the season 2008–09, on 4 April 2009 against Zorya Luhansk finished in the victory 2–1, were Bulku scored the opening goal of the match in the 7th minute. He finished the 2008–09 season with a total of 24 appearances, when 21 times were as a starter.
Bulku started the 2009–10 season with the match against Shakhtar Donetsk on 18 July 2009, finished in the loss 3–0. Bulku played in the last match of the year 2009, on 13 December 2009 in the loss 1–3 against Metalurh Zaporizhya. This was the last match for the club, as he interrupted his contract with Kryvbas. On the first half of the 2009–10 season, he made a total of 14 appearances.
After 6 months as Free agent, in August 2010 he signed for Croatian side Hajduk Split in the Prva HNL. He made it his first debut with the team on 16 September 2010 in a match valid for UEFA Europa League 2010–11 group stage against AEK Athens, were Bulku played in the starting line up and substituted off after 81 minutes for Dinko Trebotić, as the match finished in the loss 3–1. He made it his league debut on 19 September 2010 against HNK Rijeka,were the match finished in the away victory 0–1 and Bulku played 83 minutes, as he got substituted off for Mirko Oremuš in the 83rd minute. He played second match in the UEFA Europa League 2010–11 group stage on 30 September 2010, in the victory 1–0 over Anderlecht. Bulku played full 90-minutes on 4 November 2010 in the home defeat 2–3 against Zenit St. Petersburg, valid for the UEFA Europa League 2010–11 group stage. At the club he was important part of the starting line up in the league matches, as he played in total of 15 matches were 12 as a starter and only 3 as a substitute, also got substituted off 6 times. In the Uefa Europa League he made in total 4 appearances. In the end of the 2010–11 season, Hajduk finished as runners-up.
At the end of June 2011 Bulku signed with AZAL of the Azerbaijan Premier League. Bulku made his debut for AZAL on 7 August 2011 against Simurq, going on to score his first goal for the club 3 games later against Neftchi Baku on 27 August 2011. In total Bulku made 22 league appearances for the club scoring three goals.
He made it his first debut on 29 August 2012, playing the full 90-minutes in the home victory 1–0 against Fajr Sepasi. Bulku scored his first goal for Sepahan on 6 April 2013 against Naft Tehran winning the match within the 3–1 result, were his goal was the opening of the match, scored in the 12th minute, also Bulku was sent off in the 41st minute after receiving his second yellow card as the first was received in the 12th minute for taking his shirt off after scored the goal. In his first season with Sepahan, he made twenty-one league appearances, scoring once. He also appeared five AFC Champions League matches.
In his second season with Sepahan, he made twenty six league appearances, failing to score. He did score once in the AFC Champions League, but Sepahan failed to get out of the group stage phase. In the 2012–13 Hazfi Cup Bulku scored once in the 1/4-finals on 9 January 2013 against Sanat Naft to open the way towards qualifying for the semifinals as the match finished in the 2–0 victory.
In May 2014, Bulku declared that he left the club after the end of the 2-year contract.
KF Tirana return
Being a Free agent footballer, on 5 June 2014 KF Tirana announced to have convinced Bulku to sign for the club and to make a return in his base after 7 years, as KF Tirana was his hometown club where he started his career as a youth. On 14 June 2014 Bulku decided to sign with KF Tirana, a 2-year contract among with fellow players such as Mario Morina and Erando Karabeci, where these two made it a renew of their contract with the club and on the other side Bulku was made the first transfer of the KF Tirana for the Window Summer Transfers 2014 and starting from 1 July 2014 they joined the club which was managed by the coach Gugash Magani.
He made his debut after the return, on 24 August 2014, where he played the full 90-minutes match against Apolonia Fier, valid for the opening of the 2014–15 season and finished in the 3–0 victory. He scored his first goal on 11 September 2014 in the 3rd match for Tirana and the 3rd week as well, to give his team the 1–1 draw against Vllaznia Shkodër in the last seconds of the match, in the 90+4' minute.
Bulku made it his first international debut, with Albania national under-18 football team in the 1999 UEFA European Under-18 Championship qualifying, playing in the opening match on 24 November 1998 against Liechtenstein, match finished as a 0–1 loss.
Bulku played for Albania national under-21 football team 15 matches and scored 1 goal in the 2000 & 2002 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification between years from 1999 to 2002.
Albania senior team
Bulku is part of Albania national football team since 2002 when he made it his first debut on 17 April 2002 against Andorra, coming on as a substitute in place of Altin Rraklli in the 54th minute, where the match finished in the 2–0 loss. After mading also another 2 matches, he didn't made any appearance for national team until 2007 where he returned playing on 7 February 2007 against Macedonia, finished in the loss 0–1. He scored first goal on 9 February 2011 in the friendly match against Slovenia finished in the loss 1–2, where Bulku scored the equalising goal of 1–1 in the 62nd minute.
Euro 2016 qualifiers
During the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying Bulku was regularly called up into the national side, except for the two closing matches in October 2015 but however he participated in just one match vs Armenia on 29 March 2015 this cause of upcomings of fellow Defensive midfielders from Switzerland national under-21 football team such as Taulant Xhaka, Amir Abrashi, Migjen Basha and also the presence of experienced and younger players Burim Kukeli, Ledian Memushaj and Ergys Kaçe.
In November 2015 Bulku was appointed as assistant manager of Gianni De Biasi at the Albania national football team becoming the third one after Paolo Tramezzani and Erjon Bogdani. He debutted in his assistant manager role on 17 November 2015 against Georgia. He participated with Albania in their first major competition the UEFA Euro 2016.
|Total part 1 Tirana||201||14||6||1||20||0||227||15|
|2007–08||Kryvbas||Ukrainian Premier League||19||0||-||-||19||0|
|2010–11||Hajduk Split||Prva HNL||15||0||4||0||19||0|
|2011–12||AZAL||Azerbaijan Premier League||22||3||2||0||-||-||24||3|
|2012–13||Sepahan||Iran Pro League||21||1||5||1||5||0||31||2|
|Albania national team|
- Scores and results list Albania's goal tally first.
|1||9 February 2011||Qemal Stafa, Tirana, Albania||Slovenia||1–1||1–2||Friendly|
- Scores and results list Albania U-21's goal tally first.
|1||31 August 2001, 16:30 (CET)||Qemal Stafa, Tirana, Albania||Finland||3–0||3–0 ||2002 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification|
The Bulku Cult
Ervin Bulku is amongst the most renowned football players of Albanian origin in the world today. Many children of Albanian descent see him as a role model. Fanatical reactions can vary from simple meet and greets to mass hysteria.
- KF Tirana
- Albanian Superliga (Kategoria superiore at the time) (6): 1998–1999, 1999–2000, 2002–2003, 2003–2004, 2004–2005, 2006–2007; Runner-up (2): 2000–01, 2005–06
- Albanian Cup (4): 1998–99, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2005–06; Runner-up (1): 2004–05
- Albanian Supercup (6): 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007; Runner-up (2): 2001, 2004
- "1998–99". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "1999-00". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "2000–01". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Ligue des Champions&lieu=Europe&datedebut=0&datefin=0&type=0 Champions League encounters". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Albanian Supercup encounters". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Albanian Superliga 2006–2007". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Matches List". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Albanian Cup 2006". Rsssf.com. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Kryvbas vs. Metalurh Zaporizhya - 19 July 2008 - Soccerway
- Kharkiv vs. Kryvbas - 22 March 2009 - Soccerway
- Kryvbas vs. Zorya - 4 April 2009 - Soccerway
- Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Kryvbas - 18 July 2009 - Soccerway
- Kryvbas vs. Metalurh Zaporizhya - 13 December 2009 - Soccerway
- AEK Athens vs. Hajduk Split - 16 September 2010 - Soccerway
- Rijeka vs. Hajduk Split - 19 September 2010 - Soccerway
- Hajduk Split vs. Anderlecht - 30 September 2010 - Soccerway
- Hajduk Split vs. Zenit - 4 November 2010 - Soccerway
- "E. BULKU". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Summary - 1. HNL - Croatia - Results, fixtures, tables and news - Soccerway
- "Marin Ljubicic goes to the Ukrainian Tavra and Ervin Bulka in Baku!" (in Croatian). http://www.dalmacijanews.com/. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. External link in
- "Simurq 0-3 AZAL". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "AZAL 3-1 Neftchi". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "2011/12 Stats" (PDF). Peşəkar Futbol Liqası. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Zyrtare: Ervin Bulku firmos me Sepahan-in në Iran aSport.al
- Sepahan vs. Fajr Sepasi - 29 August 2012 - Soccerway
- Sepahan vs. Naft Tehran - 6 April 2013 - Soccerway
- Ervin Bulku shënon në kupë për Sepahanin - Sporti Shqiptar Online - Sporti Shqiptar Online
- Ervin Bulku: Tirana mbetet zgjedhja ime e parë në Shqipëri. Do të vendos më 1 korrik Archived 12 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
- Binden Karabeci dhe Bulku, gati firma me bardheblutë Archived 11 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
- Vijnë firmat e para te bardheblutë, rinovojnë Morina e Karabeci, firmos edhe Ervin Bulku[permanent dead link]
- Tirana vs. Apolonia Fier - 24 August 2014 - Soccerway
- Vllaznia Shkodër vs. Tirana - 11 September 2014 - Soccerway
- Ervin Bulku – UEFA competition record
- uefa.com - UEFA European U-21 C'ship[permanent dead link]
- Andorra football team defeated Albania 2:0, 17 April 2002 EU-Football.info
- Albania vs. Slovenia - 9 February 2011 - Soccerway
- UEFA EURO 2016 - Teams - Albania UEFA.com
- Erion Bogdani në tribunë, Ervin Bulku në stol Panorama Sport
- (Fotogaleri) De Biazi është gati për pjesëmarrjen në Europian Panorama Sport
- Ervin Bulku at National-Football-Teams.com
- Ervin Bulku career data
- Ervin Bulku - national football team player EU-Football.info
- uefa.com - Albania 3-0 Finland - UEFA European U-21 C'ship[permanent dead link]
- http://www.kohajone.com/index.php/kategoria-superiore/ervin-bulku-34-vjec-urimi-nga-shoket-e-ekipit-edhe-100-me-nje-fitore-ne-korce[permanent dead link]
- Ervin Bulku – UEFA competition record
- Ervin Bulku at National-Football-Teams.com
- Ervin Bulku at FFU website (Ukrainian)
- Ervin Bulku at Soccerway
|KF Tirana captain