Today's Etrit Berisha Talking Points
Etrit Sadudin Berisha (Albanian pronunciation: [ɛtɾit bɛɾiʃa]; born 10 March 1989) is an Albanian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Italian club Atalanta on loan from Lazio and the Albanian national team.
Berisha began his career at local club KF 2 Korriku as a youngster, as well also playing youth football with KF KEK before joining Kalmar FF in 2008, initially as part of their youth setup. He was promoted to the first team in 2010 and soon made his debut for the club and establishing himself as a first team player, making 14 league appearances in his debut season. He cemented his position as the club's first choice keeper during the 2011 Allsvenskan campaign, helping his side achieve a mid table finish as well as reach the 2011 Svenska Cupen Final, which he did not play in and which his side lost. He scored his first professional goal from the penalty spot in a Europa League qualifier against Northern Irish side Cliftonville on 12 July 2012, and he scored another penalty just a month later in the Allsvenskan against Helsingborgs. He remained the club's first choice goalkeeper and his performances earned him the Allsvenskan goalkeeper of the year award for the 2013 campaign that saw him score twice from the penalty spot and help his side achieve a fourth-place finish in the league.
In the summer of 2013 Italian club Chievo announced that they had a pre-contract agreement in place with Berisha, but he soon joined their Serie A rivals Lazio on a four-year deal for, which caused controversy and led to the player being faced with a six-month suspension, although the case was eventually dropped against him. He competes with Italy international Federico Marchetti for the first choice goalkeeper spot at Lazio, and neither has made the position entirely their own since Berisha's arrival. More recently Lazio's head coach Stefano Pioli has preferred Marchetti, and Berisha's playing time has suffered as a result as he has been limited to fewer appearances than his first season with the club.
Berisha is from Kosovo but is able to represent Albania through his Albanian ethnicity, and he was first called up to the Albanian national team in 2012 by Italian head coach Gianni De Biasi where he made his international debut against Iran on 27 May 2012. He was initially a backup goalkeeper for Samir Ujkani, but after just a few games he became Albania's first choice goalkeeper, with Ujkani switching allegiances to represent Kosovo in 2014. He played an instrumental role in Albania qualifying for its first major international tournament, as they reached Euro 2016, becoming a fan favourite in the process.Close