|Date of birth||13 February 1969|
|Place of birth||Shkodër, Albania|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Vata was born in the northern city of Shkodër and joined local side Vllaznia Shkodër at a young age, making his first team debut in 1988. Whilst travelling with the Albania national football team in France he sought political asylum in 1991.
Vata's career in Western football began in France in 1991, when the KS Dinamo Tirana player claimed political asylum following an international match. He played for Le Mans and Tours, before playing for Celtic between January 1993 and 1995–96. He became the first Albanian to win an honour in a major European country when he won the 1995 Scottish FA Cup with Celtic.
Vata went on to play for Apollon Limassol (1996–1998), Energie Cottbus (1998–2001), Rot-Weiß Ahlen (January–June 2002) and SK Tirana (2002–2003). This was followed by a spell in Japan, after which he signed for St Johnstone in 2004. He retired from football in 2005 after a brief stint with KF Partizani Tirana.
Since retiring from the professional game, Vata has become a sports agent, specialising in Eastern European football, and facilitating the transfer of players such as Garry O'Connor and Aiden McGeady.
He made his debut for Albania in a May 1990 European Championship qualification match away against Iceland and earned a total of 59 caps, scoring 5 goals. His final international was a September 2001 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Finland.
Vata is married to Anne Frances from Wishaw, Lanarkshire in Scotland, whom he met during his time playing at Celtic. They have two sons together, Ruan and Rocco, both of whom were born in Scotland. They live in Hamilton, Scotland. In November 2019, his son Rocco was set to make his Republic of Ireland U-15 debut against Poland.
|Le Mans||1991–92||Division 2|
|Apollon Limassol||1996–97||First Division||25||4|
|Energie Cottbus||1998–99||2. Bundesliga||25||0|
|LR Ahlen||2001–02||2. Bundesliga||8||0|
|Yokohama FC||2003||J2 League||24||3|
|St Johnstone||2003–04||First Division||15||0|
- Phil Gordan (28 March 2009). "Earrings and beards welcome as Rudi Vata helps Stark's boys". Times Online. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- Gordon, Phil (25 March 2001). "The Albanian who came in from the cold". The Independent.
- TheCelticWiki profile
- Littbarski turns interest to Hibs
- BBC Sport - Celtic's Aiden McGeady likely to snup Spartak - Vata
- Hoxha, Florent; Mamrud, Roberto (11 December 2009). "Albania – Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
- "Player Database". eu-football.info. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
- Interview: Rudi Vata on his journey from Albania to Celtic - Scotsman
- "Rudi Vata". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
- Albania - Championship Winning Teams - RSSSF
- Albanian Supercup 2002 RSSSF. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
- Rothmans Tournament 2000 (Malta) RSSSF. Retrieved 3 April 2020.