Ujkani in 2011
|Full name||Samir Ujkani|
|Date of birth||5 July 1988|
|Place of birth||Vushtrri, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
(loan from Genoa)
|2009–2012||→ Novara (loan)||86||(0)|
|2013||→ Chievo (loan)||0||(0)|
|2016||→ Latina (loan)||21||(0)|
|2016–||→ Pisa (loan)||18||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 31 May 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:41, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Samir Ujkani (born 5 July 1988) is an Kosovo Albanian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Italian club Pisa, on loan from Genoa and the Kosovo national team. Ujkani previously represented Albania at full international level.
Ujkani was born in Resnik, a village near Vushtrri, Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, at the time part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. His family then moved to Belgium six years after his birth.
At the age of thirteen, Ujkani enrolled into Ingelmunster, spending six years there before moving to Anderlecht. The Anderlecht football academy has a reputation of producing talented goalkeepers such as Jacky Munaron. Ujkani played until June 2007 for the Anderlecht Under-19s, and made also ten appearances with their reserves team. On June 2007, he agreed to sign a five-year contract with Palermo of the Italian Serie A.
Since then, Ujkani served as unused bench in two UEFA Cup matches for Palermo, and several Serie A matches as well. He was confirmed as third-choice goalkeeper for the Rosanero's 2008–09 season, and later promoted as second goalkeeper after the club chose to transfer-list veteran goalkeeper Alberto Fontana.
On 26 April 2009, Ujkani made his professional debut with Palermo, replacing injured Marco Amelia during a Serie A match against Milan at the San Siro. His performance was congratulated from Kaká at the end of the match. On July 2009, he was loaned out to Lega Pro Prima Divisione club Novara in exchange with Giacomo Brichetto, also in order to gain first team experience.
Ujkani immediately cemented his place as Novara's first-choice goalkeeper. He was a pivotal and influential member of squad, helping promote Novara from the Lega Pro Prima Divisione to the Serie B in the 2009–10 season, marking a 33-year return for the club to Serie B. This prompted Novara to ask for an extension to his loan, which was agreed by Palermo on July 2010.
Ujkani helped Novara reach promotion in 2010–11 to Serie A after a 55-year absence. On 31 January 2011, Palermo announced it had sold 50% of Ujkani's transfer rights to Novara, along with Michel Morganella (both tagged for €1.5 million), as part of a bid involving striker Pablo González (€5 million).
Ujkani has been a crucial member of the squad in the Serie A, helping Novara beat Internazionale home and away when Ujkani pulled off a point-blank save to deny Giampaolo Pazzini and held off Wesley Sneijder when he struck the free-kick from a dangerous position. He also helped Novara secure a draw against Napoli.
From 16 October 2011, Ujkani sustained a broken nose and lost four teeth when he colided with teammate Michel Morganella against Bologna. Being one of the fan favourites, then Andrea Ballarè, the Mayor of Novara visited Ujkani in hospital. Ujkani returned on 5 December in a match against Lazio.
Return to Palermo and loan to Chievo
On 14 June 2012, Palermo owner Maurizio Zamparini confirmed that Ujkani will be playing on Palermo for the 2012–13 season. On 22 June 2012, Palermo announced from their website to have re-acquired the full transfer rights of Ujkani and fellow Novara player Michel Morganella.
After the arrival of goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino at Palermo, Ujkani moved on loan to Chievo. In his short stint there, he did not play a single game, serving as back-up to Christian Puggioni, and was not acquired by the Verona-based club, thus making his return to Palermo by the end of season.
For Palermo's 2013–14 season, spent in Serie B after its previous season's relegation, he was used as a second-choice goalkeeper – receiving playing time – and being praised for his development relative to his previous stint with Palermo. During December and January 2014, he became temporary first-choice to cover for the injured Stefano Sorrentino.
His contract with Palermo expired 30 June 2015.
Genoa and loan to Pisa
Ujkani received an Albanian passport in summer 2007 and started playing for the Albania U21. He made his debut on 1 June in a European qualification match against Italy U21. On 6 October 2008, he received his first senior call-up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification qualifying matches with Hungary and Portugal. He made his full senior debut on 10 June 2009 in a 1–1 draw with Georgia in Albania. Ujkani lost his starting place to Etrit Berisha during 2014 World Cup qualification.
Kosovo gained the right to play international friendlies against FIFA member associations on 13 January 2014, prompting him to switch his international allegiance to Kosovo. He played his first international friendly match for Kosovo on 5 March 2014, in a goalless draw against Haiti.
- As of February 2014
- "samir ujkani novara – Serie B". La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
- "Migliaccio e Ujkani i primi acquisti del Palermo". US Città di Palermo. 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Jean-Paul Bonomi (6 Feb 2010). "Ujkani: "Novara? Città molto tranquilla, super-organizzata e… la società di calcio è fantastica!"". oknovara.it. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- "Esordio di Ujkani in Serie A". US Città di Palermo. 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- http://news.al/lajme/artikull/iden/236101/titulli/Ujkani-Kaka-me-pergezoi Ujkani : Kaka me pergezoi ne fund te ndeshjes
- "NEWS: ARRIVA SAMIR UJKANI" (in Italian). Novara Calcio. 2009-07-24. Archived from the original on 28 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- "La storia" (in Italian). Novara Calcio. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- "MOVIMENTI IN USCITA DEL PALERMO" (in Italian). US Città di Palermo. 2010-07-16. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- "Novara seal return to Serie A".
- "Bilancio Palermo 2010/11: utile grazie a Cavani e Kjaer" (in Italian). ju29ro.com. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "ACQUISTATO PABLO ANDRES GONZALEZ" (in Italian). US Città di Palermo. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
- AP (12 February 2012). "Inter Milan slip up against lowly Novara". Aljazeera. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- "Il Sindaco in visita a Ujkani ricoverato al "Maggiore"" (in Italian). andreaballare. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- "Zamparini e konfirmon: Ujkani portier i ri i Palermos" (in Albanian). asport. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "Samir Ujkani happy to be staying with Palermo". tribalfootball. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "MOVIMENTI DI MERCATO" [MARKET MOVEMENTS] (in Italian). US Città di Palermo. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "UJKANI CEDUTO AL CHIEVO, CETTO SI TRASFERISCE AL SAN LORENZO" [UJKANI SOLD AT CHIEVO, CETTO MOVES IN SAN LORENZO] (in Italian). US Città di Palermo. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "IL GRIFONE PRENDE SAMIR UJKANI" (in Italian). Genoa C.F.C. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "Ujkani è nerazzurro" (in Italian). U.S. Latina Calcio. January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- "Albania: Ujkani convocato nazionale "A"" (in Italian). US Città di Palermo. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
- "FIFA Emergency Committee confirms friendly matches involving clubs and representative teams of Kosovo". FIFA.com. 13 January 2014.