|Full name||Hamdi Abdullah Salihi|
|Date of birth||19 January 1984|
|Place of birth||Shkodër, Albania|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30 March 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 29 March 2015
Nicknamed 'The Bomber' by his former international coach Otto Barić who would compare him to Gerd Müller, Salihi is known for being a prolific goalscorer both in Albania and Austria, the two countries where he has spent the majority of his career.
An Albania international player, Salihi has won 50 caps and was a regular starter between 2009 and 2013.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Career statistics
- 4 Honours
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Salihi begun his professional career at his boyhood club Vllaznia Shkodër, where he was promoted in the first team by coach Artan Bushati in the 2002–03 season; he made two appearances as the team finished runner-up to eventual champions Tirana. He had his breakthrough season in the 2003–04 season, netting his first Albanian Superliga goal in the opening week, a 4–1 away loss to Partizani Tirana. In cup, he notably scored four goals in a 9–0 away win versus Ada Velipojë in the second leg of second round. Salihi finished his first full-season by netting 14 goals in 33 league appearances, with Vllaznia finishing third.
Salihi scored his first top-flight hat-trick on 23 October 2004 in Vllaznia's 7–0 hammering of Laçi. He was the most in-from striker during the first part of 2004–05 season in which he managed to score 16 goals in only 20 matches which ensured him a transfer to Greece.
In January 2005, Salihi moved for the first time outside the country by joining Panionios in then Alpha Ethniki on a three-year contract. The young Albanian striker managed to play in 6 games, mostly coming on as a substitute in the last few minutes. He left the club following the end of the season and came back to Albania. Many years later he stated that the transfer was a mistake, adding that he was not ready live the country at such young age.
Salihi moved back to Albania and played for Tirana starting from the 2005–06 season. In his first match since returning in Albania, Salihi scored as Tirana started the Albanian Superliga with a 2–1 away win at Vllaznia Shkodër. Later on 16 September in the match day 4 against city rivals Dinamo, Salihi scored a brace, including a last-minute winner, to rescue his side a point. His was followed by another brace one week later against Skënderbeu Korçë. He had a very successful season winning the Albanian Cup and the Golden Boot as the highest scorer of the Albanian Superliga.
He continued with Tirana for another half season, again being the highest scorer in the league before he left to purchase a career outside Albania. During his time at Tirana, Salihi became well-known all over the world for his goalscoring abilities. He finished 8th in The IFFHS World's best Top Division Goal Scorer 2006. Salihi later would go on to say that the transfer to Tirana was the best choice of his career, adding that at Tirana he matured as a player and person.
In January 2007, Salihi completed a transfer to SV Ried of the Austrian Bundesliga. In the remaining part of 2006–07, Salihi scored 6 goals in 15 league appearances as Ried finished runner-up in championship. By finishing 2nd in the league, Ried won the right to play European football. On 19 July 2007, in the first leg of 2007–08 UEFA Cup first qualifying round, Salihi netted in the last minute of regular time as Ried won 3–1 against Neftchi Baku. He also scored his team's only goal in the returning leg as Ried was defeated 1–2 but progressed 4–3 on aggregate.
In the 2007–08 season, Salihi enjoyed a decent season at the club, becoming the league's joint 4th top scorer along with Carsten Jancker of SV Mattersburg with 12 league goals. Despite this, SV Ried only finished 7th out of 10 in the league. In the 2008–09 season Salihi improved himself to 14 league goals at Ried, scoring one fourth of his team's goals. Ried placed fifth at the end of the season. On the 2009–10 season Salihi played 6 games which he score twist for his club but couple weeks later he was sold to Rapid Wien.
On 31 August 2009, Salihi completed a transfer to Austrian giants SK Rapid Wien by penning a three-year contract. On his debut match, brought from the bench and netted in the 83rd minute in the match against Red Bull Salzburg which saved Rapid from the loss as the match ended 2–2.
At the end of the season Salihi scored 17 goals, 2 of which were from the previous club Ried making him the 5th leading goalscorer behind two of his teammates Steffen Hofmann, who was in first, and Nikica Jelavić who was tied in third. At the end of the season Rapid Wien was in third place three points behind champions Red Bull Salzburg and two points behind Austria Wien. Rapid Wien qualified for the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round.
Salihi opened his scoring account in the 2010–11 season in the match versus SV Mattersburg on 22 August 2010. It was followed by a brace in the 3–2 home win against Kapfenberger on 25 September. Then he scored in the match day 4 of UEFA Europa League Group L against CSKA Sofia as the match was lost. Salihi produced a splendid performance later that month by netting four goals in the 5–0 home win against LASK Linz which lifted his tally to 7 seven goals. The goals were followed by the winner against Austria Wien which lifted the team in 6th position, 5 points short of "European zone".
On 3 February 2013, Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Sainty official announced that they had signed Hamdi Salihi from D.C. United to replace injured Cristian Dănălache. On 26 February, he scored his first goal in his debut for Jiangsu, in a 5–1 away defeat against K League champions FC Seoul in the first round of 2013 AFC Champions League group stage match. On 3 March, Salihi won his first title in China in the 2013 Chinese FA Super Cup which Jiangsu Sainty beat Super League and FA Cup winners Guangzhou Evergrande 2–1. He forced Guangzhou's Zhang Linpeng to score an own goal in the 18th minute. He then squeezed in his first goal in the league in another 2-1 win against the newly promoted Wuhan Zall with a low-fly header. He scored twice (a penalty kick and a last-minute equalizer) in the following home fixture, who witnessed a tough 2-2 tie of his team against Shanghai Shenxin. Hamdi Salihi scored again in 2013 AFC Champions League group stage against Japan team Vegalta Sendai in last match in Group E.
Hapoel Ironi Acre
On 1 February 2014, Salihi joined Hapoel Ironi Acre on a free transfer by penning an 18-month contract. He took squad number 14, and made his debut nine days later in the 2–1 home win over Hapoel Tel Aviv. He opened his scoring account on 15 February by scoring twice against Ironi Ramat Hasharon finished in the victory 4–3 coming from behind of 1–3 in the first half, where Salihi scored goal of 2–3 in the 53rd minute and an equalizing goal to make it 3–3 in 57th minute. Later on 1 March 2014, Salihi scored an overhead bicycle kick inside the zone to beat goalkeeper Amir Edri for his side only goal in the home draw against Maccabi Haifa. The goal took international notoriety.
Then, he endured a 540-minute scoreless run across 6 matches, receiving critics from Israel's media. He returned to scoring on 26 April by netting the matchwinner against Hapoel Haifa. Following that, on 3 May, Salihi netted the opener via penalty kick against Beitar Jerusalem finished in an away victory 0–2. This was followed by another penalty goal in the next match against Ironi Ramat Hasharon which ended in a 1–2 home loss. Salihi ended the season with 13 matches played on where scored in total 6 goals.
He started another season with Hapoel Acre, the 2014–15 season with the match valid for the 2014–15 Israel State Cup against Maccabi Haifa on 13 August 2014, finished in the 2–1 loss, where Salihi scored a goal as well, in the 27th minute the opening goal. On 13 September 2014, he played his first league match in the 1–1 draw against Hapoel Haifa. On 13 December 2014, Salihi scored two important goals in the 2–2 away draw against the top table team, Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona. When his team were losing 2–0, he scored with a precise header in the 59th minute and then scored again in the 75th minute to make equal balanced everything from behind.
On 2 February 2015 Salihi signed with Israeli club Hapoel Haifa becoming one of the highest paid players in the domestic league, with a salary of $20,000 per month. He closed recent disputes between manager Niki Vaknin and club managers, who then agreed and he signed for a year and a half. Salihi scored 4 goals in 10 games helping the club to ensure survival in the Israeli Premier League.
In July 2015, it was reported that Salihi joined Skënderbeu Korçë for their UEFA Champions League campaign, taking the vacant number 14. The team coach Mirel Josa said that he was happy for the signing of Salihi, adding that "Salihi would be a great value if he stayed until the end of the season. I'm more than happy for this transfer".
He made his debut on 14 July 2015, in the first leg of second qualifying round of 2015–16 UEFA Champions League against Crusaders, scoring two goals for a crucial 4–1 victory. In the second leg on 21 July, Salihi assisted the second goal of his team scored by Latifi, with Skënderbeu losing 3–2 but qualifying on aggregate 6–4.
In the third round, the team was seeded with Moldavian side Milsami Orhei. In the first leg at Zimbru Stadium, Salihi was again the matchwinner by scoring twice, helping the team to prevail 2–0. In the returning leg at Elbasan Arena, Salihi was again in the scoresheet as Skënderbeu recorded another 2–0 win, advancing in play-off round with the aggregate 4–0. By doing this, Skenderbeu become first Albanian club to reach the Champions League play-offs.
On 12 August, in the 2015 Albanian Supercup match against Laçi at Qemal Stafa Stadium, Salihi came on the field in place of the injured Arbër Abilaliaj and scored twice in an eventual 2–2 draw; Laçi, however, won the trophy after beating Skënderbeu 8–7 in the penalty shootouts, Salihi himself scored his attempt.
In play-off, Skënderbeu was easily defeated by Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb with the aggregate 6–2. Skënderbeu secured the Europa League group stage, becoming first Albanian club to reach that. After the end of the team's Champions League campaign, Salihi was second top goalscorer with five goals, two behind from Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eran Zahavi. After the end of the club's UEFA Champions League campaign, the club itself confirmed via its official Facebook page that Salihi would remain in the club for the rest of 2015–16 season.
Salihi made his league debut on 9 September in the 1–0 away win against Vllaznia Shkodër, suffering an early injury and was subbed off in the 19th minute. However, he was recovered in time for the Europa League group stage match against Beşiktaş, where he played in the last 20 minutes of a 0–1 home defeat. Salihi scored his first league goal of the season on 26 September in a 4–1 away win against Bylis Ballsh, netting the third of the match.
Later on 5 October, Salihi scored a brace in Skënderbeu's 3–0 defeat of Laçi, including one goal with penalty. Twenty days later, in the 2–1 away defeat to Partizani Tirana, Salihi scored with a bicycle kick from the penalty area in the 8th minute, gaining international notoriety. Salihi started November with a brace in team's 3–1 home victory against his former side Vllaznia Shkodër on 8th, taking his tally up to 8 goals, overtaking Xhevahir Sukaj in the process. On the last day of November, Salihi scored his 10th league goal in the 2–1 away win against Tirana in the inaugural match in the newly renovated Selman Stërmasi Stadium.
On 20 December, during the league match against the title rivals of Partizani Tirana, Salihi broke his hand in a collision with the goalkeeper Alban Hoxha in the 53rd minute of the match. It was later reported that Salihi would go to Austria for further examinations and he would be out for one month. Salihi kicked off 2016 on 7 February by scoring twice in the 3–1 home win against the rivals Kukësi, placing Skënderbeu two points clear at the top. This was followed by another brace six days later against Tërbuni Pukë in a 3–1 away win. On 22 February, Salihi scored the matchwinner via e penalty kick against Tirana, keeping the team in the first place in the league.
On 20 March, Salihi scored his sixth Albanian Superliga hat-trick in team's 5–1 home defeat of Flamurtari Vlorë, taking his tally up to 23 league goals. In April and May, Salihi went to score three more goals, concluding the season with 27 league goals, as Skënderbeu won the title for the sixth year in a row. He finished the season with 35 goals from 42 match across all competitions, setting a new personal best. Salihi ended the season winning the Albanian Superliga Golden Boot for the second time, finishing six goals ahead of Xhevahir Sukaj with 21 goals.
Salihi did not play any European football match due to Skënderbeu ban over match-fixing allegations. He started the season by playing full-90 minutes in the 2016 Albanian Supercup match against Kukësi which ended in a 3–1 defeat at Selman Stërmasi Stadium. Salihi started the league by scoring a brace in the opening match day against Flamurtari Vlorë as Skënderbeu won 2–1 at home. This was followed by another strike in the second match day at newly promoted Korabi Peshkopi for a 2–0 win. On 1 October, Salihi scored another brace to take his tally up to 5 goals as Skënderbeu won against Vllaznia Shkodër to extend the league lead to 5 points.
On 20 May 2017, during the decisive match against Kukësi for the championship, Salihi along with other teammates were included in a massive brawl with referee Enea Jorgji. Salihi notably was caught tearing the referee's red card and insulting him in the process, however, he was not seen by the referee. Everything started in the 59th minute when the referee didn't give a clear penalty to Skënderbeu after a foul inside the zone on Liridon Latifi, instead booking him for diving. Skënderbeu eventually were defeated 2–0 at Zeqir Ymeri Stadium, meaning that they have failed to win the championship for the first time in six years. Disciplinary Committee of AFA handed him a ten-game ban for all domestic competitions.
On 30 June 2017, following a season full of ups and down on individual aspect, also adding the ban, Salihi officially left Skënderbeu after two seasons. During his time in Korçë, he played 80 matches, including 63 in league, 5 in cup, 2 in supercup and 10 in European competitions, scoring 51 goals, including 42 in league, 2 in cup, 2 in supercup and 5 in European competitions.
On 30 June 2017, Salihi completed a transfer to Austrian First League club Wiener Neustadt for an undisclosed fee. The transfer was made official by the club only on 21 July, after he was cleared from his 10-match ban, which could have been a factor to cancel the agreement between the parties.
Salihi made his first appearance on the same day by playing 70 minutes in a 1–0 away win against Ried, making a good overall appearance. His first score-sheet contributions came in his second ever appearance for the club seven days later, scoring a header just inside the zone as Wiener Neustadt recorded a 4–0 home win over Blau-Weiß Linz to take the championship lead. Later on 20 October, Salihi scored all four goals as Wiener Neustadt recorded a 4–2 home win over Kapfenberger to stay top of league tied on points with Ried. Salihi reached double figures and took the lead of goalscoring table with 13 goals; it was his second "poker" in career, first being in November 2010. The feat was followed by the winner against Wattens in the next match day which put Wiener Neustadt top of the table.
The team, however, couldn't keep up the good results in the second part of the season, eventually falling to 4th place. On 4 May 2018, Salihi netted his 20th goal of the season with a 96th minute free-kick to give Neustadt the win over Floridsdorfer and to keep their hopes for a top flight spot alive. He finished the regular campaign as joint-top scorer along with Ried's Seifedin Chabbi, bagging 22 goals from 33 appearances, all of them as starter, as Wiener Neustadt achieved a play-off spot by finishing 3rd in the championship with 62 points.
Salihi was named club captain ahead of 2018–19 season. On 28 March 2019, Salihi announced that the league game against Wacker Innsbruck two days later will be the last of his career, adding that he will retire afterwards. He played as starter for 52 minutes, unable to prevent the 1–2 home loss.
Salihi scored his first goal for the Albanian national team in a 3–0 win over Malta on 23 August 2007. He was sent in the game on the 22nd minute replacing Erjon Bogdani. Only after 12 minutes played, The Bomber took advantage of a mistake made by the Maltese goalie and scored. Salihi also scored the advantage goal in the unofficial friendly against Milan for the Taçi Oil Cup; the match eventually ended 3–3 with Albania losing on penalty shootouts.
The second international goal of Salihi came against Sweden, when he scored for Albania in the last match of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, where Albania lost 4–1 at Råsunda Stadium. Neither Sweden or Albania qualified for the 2010 World Cup.
For the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, new coach Gianni De Biasi had introduced young forwards into the senior national team to create more competition for places in the first team. Young players forwards such as Edgar Çani, Armando Sadiku and Bekim Balaj provided competition for the established and mature internationals which were Salihi and Erjon Bogdani. In opening group game of the qualifiers, Albania took on Cyprus at the Qemal Stafa Stadium in Tirana, Salihi started the game upfront alongside 21-year-old Armando Sadiku who was making his competitive debut, having featured in three friendly games prior to the game against Cyprus. The pair combined well in the early stages and Salihi had a good chance to score in the first half, before Sadiku opened the scoring in the 36th minute. The game ended in a 3–1 win for Albania following goals from substitutes Edgar Çani and Erjon Bogdani.
On 23 March 2013 Albania played against Norway away at a freezing Ullevaal Stadion in a crucial encounter for both sides. Salihi started the game upfront with Çani and immediately created problems for the Norwegians with a shot on target from an overhead kick in the 3rd minute. He scored the only goal of the game in the 67th minute following a clever run inside the box to put the ball in the right hand corner of the net. The win stunned the hosts to the delight of the away fans who almost outnumbered the home fans. This moved Albania into joint 2nd place in the group 9 points, ahead of Norway who were left on 7 points. Salihi scored his second goal of the campaign on 11 October 2013 in the penultimate match against Switzerland in the 89th minute with a Penalty to send the score 1–2, where the game ended with the same score as well. Albania were eliminated from the qualifiers ranking in the 5th place with 11 points, 1 less than Norway, 2 less than Slovenia.
Salihi was called-up regularly by the coach Gianni De Biasi in the team's successful UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. He was, however, used only once in the whole qualifiers, playing the last 21 minutes of the 2–1 home win against Armenia in Elbasan Arena. He was not called up in the provisional 27-man UEFA Euro 2016 squad. This led him to consider the retirement from international football.
|Vllaznia Shkodër||2002–03||Albanian Superliga||2||0||1||0||—||—||3||0|
|Panionios||2004–05||Major League Soccer||6||0||1||1||—||—||7||1|
|Ried||2006–07||Austrian Football Bundesliga||15||6||2||0||—||—||17||6|
|Rapid Wien||2009–10||Austrian Football Bundesliga||23||15||3||1||5[e]||1||—||31||17|
|D.C. United||2012||Major League Soccer||23||6||2||1||—||—||25||7|
|Jiangsu Sainty||2013||Chinese Super League||28||9||2||1||5[f]||2||1[g]||0||36||12|
|Hapoel Acre||2013–14||Israeli Premier League||13||6||—||—||—||13||6|
|Hapoel Haifa||2014–15||Israeli Premier League||10||4||—||—||—||10||4|
|Skënderbeu Korçë||2015–16||Albanian Superliga||30||27||1||1||10[h]||5||1[d]||2||42||35|
|Wiener Neustadt||2017–18||Austrian Football Second League||33||22||—||—||2[i]||1||35||23|
- All appearance(s) in UEFA Cup
- All appearance(s) in UEFA Intertoto Cup
- All appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
- Appearance in Albanian Supercup
- All appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
- All appearance(s) in AFC Champions League
- Appearance in Chinese FA Super Cup
- Five appearances and five goals in UEFA Champions League, five appearances in UEFA Europa League
- All appearance(s) in Austrian Football First League promotion play-offs
- As of match played 29 March 2015. Albania score listed first, score column indicates score after each Salihi goal.
|1||22 August 2007||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania||4||Malta||2–0||3–0||Friendly|
|2||14 October 2009||Råsunda Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden||17||Sweden||1–4||1–4||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|3||25 May 2010||Podgorica City Stadium, Podgorica, Montenegro||20||Montenegro||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|4||2 June 2010||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania||21||Andorra||1–0||1–0|
|5||11 August 2010||Niko Dovana Stadium, Durrës, Albania||22||Uzbekistan||1–0||1–0|
|6||7 September 2010||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania||24||Luxembourg||1–0||1–0||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|7||26 March 2011||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania||29||Belarus||1–0||1–0|
|8||10 August 2011||Loro Boriçi Stadium, Shkoder, Albania||31||Montenegro||3–2||3–2||Friendly|
|9||11 October 2011||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania||35||Romania||1–0||1–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|10||23 March 2013||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||42||Norway||1–0||1–1||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|11||11 October 2013||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania||46||Switzerland||1–2||1–2|
- Vllaznia Shkodër
- SV Ried
- Jiangsu Sainty
- Skënderbeu Korçë
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- "Salihi nuk ndalet, Nojshtadi në krye!" [Salihi doesn't stop, Neustadt on lead] (in Albanian). Sport Ekspres. 31 October 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
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