Hamdi Salihi

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Hamdi Salihi
SC Wiener Neustadtvs SK Rapid Wien 20110723 (27).jpg
Salihi with Rapid Wien in 2011
Personal information
Full name Hamdi Abdullah Salihi
Date of birth (1984-01-19) 19 January 1984 (age 32)
Place of birth Shkodër, Albania
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Skënderbeu Korçë
Number 14
Youth career
2000–2002 Vllaznia Shkodër
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2004 Vllaznia Shkodër 55 (30)
2004–2005 Panionios 6 (0)
2005–2007 Tirana 52 (42)
2007–2009 SV Ried 82 (34)
2009–2012 Rapid Wien 67 (36)
2012–2013 D.C. United 22 (6)
2013 Jiangsu Sainty 28 (9)
2014–2015 Hapoel Acre 33 (14)
2015 Hapoel Haifa 10 (4)
2015– Skënderbeu Korçë 30 (27)
National team
2002–2003 Albania U-19 2 (0)
2003–2005 Albania U-21 12 (1)
2006– Albania 50 (11)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 9 May 2016.

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

Hamdi Abdullah Salihi (born 19 January 1984 in Shkodër, Albania) is an Albanian professional footballer player who plays as a Forward for Albanian club Skënderbeu Korçë and the Albanian national team. Nicknamed 'The Bomber' by his former international coach Otto Barić who would compare him to Gerd Müller,[1] 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. He has been a regular member of the Albanian national team since making his debut in 2006.

Club career[edit]

Vllaznia Shkodër[edit]

Salihi started his footballing career at his home town club Vllaznia Shkodër. In the 2002–03 season Salihi featured for the club only two times in his first professional year. In 2003–04 season, Salihi was given a chance to show his qualities as a young player which he managed to score 14 goals in 33 games. In his third season with the club he played just half of the season of 2004–05 which he managed to score 16 goals in only 20 matches and then after an impressive season in Albania's top division he moved to Greece.

Panionios[edit]

In 2004, Salihi moved to Panionios in the top division of Greece. The young Albanian striker only managed to play in 6 games, mostly coming on as a substitute in the last few minutes. After the season was over he decided to go back to his country to play for KF Tirana.

Tirana[edit]

Salihi moved back to Albania and played for KF Tirana starting from the 2005–06 season. He had a very successful season winning the National Cup and the golden boot as the highest scorer of the Albanian Superliga.[2] He continued with KS Tirana for another half season, again being the highest scorer in the league before he left to play in the Austrian Bundesliga. In his time with KF Tirana Salihi became known all over the world for his goalscoring abilities. He finished 8th in The IFFHS World's best Top Division Goal Scorer 2006. In one season with KF Tirana he managed to score 35 goals in 39 games altogether. Also Salihi played half of the season in 2006–07 right before getting sold to SV Ried from KF Tirana which he managed to score 16 goals in 20 games.

SV Ried[edit]

In the 2007 January transfer window, Salihi joined SV Ried of the Austrian Bundesliga. He completed his first half season at SV Ried with 6 goals, helping his club to become vice-champions of the Austrian Football Bundesliga. Salihi also scored 2 goals on the first round Uefa Cup qualifiers against Neftchi, one of which was scored on the second leg match in the 85th minute. Until the 85th minute the score was 2–0 for Neftchi and if the score was kept they were going to qualify for the second round on the away goals rule 3–3 as SV Ried had won 3–1 at home. Thanks to Salihi's goal the overall score was 4–3 and SV Ried safely went through to the next round.[3][4]

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.[5] 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.

Rapid Wien[edit]

Salihi playing with Rapid Wien in 2010

On 31 August 2009 Salihi signed with Austrian giants SK Rapid Wien on a 3 years contract. On his first match with Rapid Salihi entered into the match in second half as a substitute and scored on the 83rd minute his first goal with Rapid. The goal drew the score with Salzburg, 2–2, and saved Rapid from a loss.[6]

At the end of the season Salihi scored 17 goals, 2 of which were from the previous club SV Ried making him the 5th leading goalscorer behind two of his team mates 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 score his first goal of 2010–11 season on 22 August 2010 against SV Mattersburg in 2–0 win. On 25 September 2010 he score 2 goals and helped his team to win 3–2 against Kapfenberger SV. Salihi scored one goal for Rapid Vienna on November 4, 2010 against CSKA Sofia in UEFA Europa League. On 11 November 2010, Salihi find the net 2 times against TSV Hartberg in Austrian Cup. The Bomber on 20 November 2010 against LASK Linz scored four goals in a 5 – 0 victory. One week later Salihi added one more goal against the previous champions Austria Vienna in a 1–0 win. His 9th and 10th goals of the season came against Innsbruck on 11 December 2010. Another double came against his former club SV Ried on March 6, 2011, which ended 2–0 for Rapid. These were his first goals of 2011. One week later on March 13, 2011, he scored in the 72nd minute the only goal of the derby against Austria Vienna in a 1–0 win.

D.C. United[edit]

On 2 February 2012, Salihi signed with Major League Soccer side D.C. United as a designated player.[7] On 25 February 2012, he scored his first goal with DC United in a preseason match.

Jiangsu Sainty[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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[edit]

In January 2014 Salihi became part of Hapoel Ironi Acre.[10] He made his first debut on 10 February 2014, by getting included in the starting line-up in the match against Hapoel Tel Aviv, finished in the 2–1 win and he substituted off in the 77th minute.[11] He scored twice on 15 February 2014 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.[12] Salihi scored a wondergoal on 1 March 2014 against Maccabi Haifa, finished in the 1–1 draw.[13] After being criticized by Israel's media for his 6 matches scoreless routine,[14] on 26 April 2014 Salihi scored a goal against Hapoel Haifa giving his team the 1–0 victory.[15] Salihi scored a penalty goal on 3 May 2014 against Beitar Jerusalem finished in an away victory 0–2, where he scored the opening goal.[16] Salihi scored another penalty goal for the second consecutive match on 10 May 2014 in the home loss 1–2 against Ironi Ramat Hasharon.[17] 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.[18] On 13 September 2014 he played first league match against Hapoel Haifa, ended as a 1–1 draw with Salihi playing the full 90-minutes match.[19] On 13 December 2014 Salihi scored two important goal 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.[20][21]

Hapoel Haifa[edit]

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 dollars a 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.[22]

Skënderbeu Korçë[edit]

Salihi playing with Skënderbeu Korçë in the Europa League

In July 2015, it was reported that Salihi joined Skënderbeu Korçë for their UEFA Champions League campaign, taking the vacant number 14.[23] 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".[24]

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.[25][26] 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.[27]

In the third round, the team was seeded with Moldavian side Milsami Orhei.[28] In the first leg at Zimbru Stadium, Salihi was again the matchwinner by scoring twice, helping the team to prevail 2–0.[29] 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.[30] By doing this, Skenderbeu become first Albanian club to reach the Champions League play-offs.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32][33] After the end of the club's UEFA Champions League campaign, the club itself comfirmed via its official Facebook page that Salihi would remain in the club for the rest of 2015–16 season.[34]

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.[35] However, he was recovered in time for the Europa League group stage match against Beşiktaş,[36] where he played in the last 20 minutes of a 0–1 home defeat.[37] 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.[38]

Later on 5 October, Salihi scored a brace in Skënderbeu's 3–0 defeat of Laçi, including one goal with penalty.[39] 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.[40][41] 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.[42] 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.[43]

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.[44] It was later raported that Salihi would go to Austria for further examinations and he would be out for one month.[44] 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.[45] This was followed by another brace six days later against Tërbuni Pukë in a 3–1 away win.[46] On 22 February, Salihi scored the matchwinner via e penalty kick against Tirana, keeping the team in the first place in the league.[47]

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.[48] 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.[49] 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.[50]

International career[edit]

Salihi scored his first goal for the Albanian national team in a 3–0 win over Malta on 23 August 2007.[51] 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 scored the important 3–2 goal in a friendly for Albania B against AC Milan, The thriller match ended 3–3.

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.[52] 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.[53][54]

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.[55][56][57]

Salihi was called-up regularly by the coach Gianni De Biasi in the team's successful UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.[58] 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.[59] He was not called-up in the provisional 27-man UEFA Euro 2016 squad.[60][61] This led him to consider the retirement from international football.[62]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 6 August 2015[63][64][65]
Club Season League Cup Continental[a] Other[b] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Vllaznia Shkodër 2002–03 2 0 1 0 3 0
2003–04 33 14 3 2 2 0 38 16
2004–05 20 16 3 5 4 2 26 19
Total 55 30 7 7 6 2 0 0 68 39
Panionios 2004–05 6 0 1 1 7 1
Total 6 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 7 1
Tirana 2005–06 35 29 4 2 4 1 1 0 44 32
2006–07 17 13 2 1 4 2 1 1 24 17
Total 52 42 6 3 8 3 2 1 68 49
SV Ried 2006–07 15 6 2 0 0 0 17 6
2007–08 33 12 2 2 4 2 39 16
2008–09 28 14 3 2 0 0 31 16
2009–10 6 2 1 2 0 0 7 4
Total 82 34 8 6 4 2 0 0 94 42
SK Rapid Wien 2009–10 23 15 3 1 5 1 31 17
2010–11 32 18 5 6 7 1 5 4 49 29
2011–12 13 3 3 8 16 11
Total 68 36 11 15 12 2 5 4 96 57
D.C. United 2012 23 6 2 1 0 0 25 7
Total 23 6 2 1 0 0 0 0 25 7
Jiangsu Sainty 2013 28 9 2 1 5 2 1 0 36 12
Total 28 9 2 1 5 2 1 0 36 12
Hapoel Acre 2013–14 13 6 13 6
2014–15 20 8 5 1 25 9
Total 33 14 5 1 0 0 0 0 38 15
Hapoel Haifa 2014–15 10 4 0 0 10 4
Total 10 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 4
Skënderbeu Korçë 2015–16 17 17 1 1 8 5 1 2 27 25
Total 17 17 1 1 8 5 1 2 27 25
Career total 374 192 43 36 43 16 9 7 468 250
  1. ^ Including continental competitions, such as UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League
  2. ^ Including other competitions, such as Albanian Supercup

International[edit]

As of 29 March 2015[65]
Albania national team
Year Apps Goals
2006 1 0
2007 5 1
2008 4 0
2009 8 1
2010 9 4
2011 10 3
2012 4 0
2013 6 2
2014 2 0
2015 1 0
Total 50 11

International goals[edit]

As of match played 29 March 2015. Albania score listed first, score column indicates score after each Salihi goal.[66]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
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 Friendly
5 11 August 2010 Niko Dovana Stadium, Durrës, Albania 22  Uzbekistan 1–0 1–0 Friendly
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 UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying
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 23 March 2013 Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania 46   Switzerland 1–2 1–2 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Vllaznia Shkodër[63]
Tirana[63]
SV Ried[63]
Jiangsu Sainty[63]
Skënderbeu Korçë[63]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

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