“Warrior” Berisha with LASK against former club Salzburg The “Warrior” is back in the Bundesliga. Once an icon in the midfield of series champions Salzburg, Valon Berisha joined LASK in the winter after unstable years abroad and will face his former club right at the premiere for the athletes. “This is something special,” explained the 30-year-old before the Cup quarter-finals on Friday (6 p.m./live ORF 1) at his new home.
- Also read: The last unanswered questions at LASK before kick-off against Salzburg
Six years is an unusually long time for the “Bulls”. In 2012, the then new sports director Ralf Rangnick announced him as a “warrior”, 233 competitive games (45 goals, 65 assists) and five championship and four cup titles later, the Norwegian-Kosovan dual citizen left the club for a rumored 7.5 million euros Towards Lazio Rome and thus to the team that had eliminated Salzburg on the way to the Europa League semi-finals a few months earlier. Only Andreas Ulmer, Christoph Leitgeb, Christian Schwegler and Andre Ramalho have played more games under the Red Bull banner. Berisha now said that his time in Austria “will always be fondly remembered”. “I came here as a young player and was able to experience many wonderful years here, which helped me enormously in my development.”
Highlight in Dortmund, difficult time in Rome
The brother of ex-Rapid kicker Veton Berisha experienced one of his highlights with his two goals in the 2-1 away win against Borussia Dortmund in that memorable EL season. “It was a great story. Winning away in Dortmund in this fantastic atmosphere and scoring both goals was certainly something very special, especially the penalty to make it 1-0,” he remembered.
As smooth as his career had been until the summer of 2018, Berisha experienced back and forth afterwards. He missed almost the entirety of his first season in Rome due to numerous injuries. “That was difficult for me, especially since I hadn’t experienced it before. But I never gave up and fought back well,” he said looking back. Nevertheless, Lazio loaned him to Fortuna Düsseldorf in the German Bundesliga for six months in the spring of 2000 and then sold him to Stade Reims. In Ligue 1 he played at least 41 games, but he was no longer able to repeat his old days. In 2022/23 he sought his fortune on loan at Melbourne City in Australia, but he has been without a club since last September. “Although it wasn’t always easy and I had to struggle with injuries at times, I was able to learn a lot at every stop and mature as a player and as a personality. Ultimately, the positive outweighs the positives at every stop,” explained Berisha.
For now as a joker
The former Salzburg leader, who stood as a “mentality monster” for the will and belief to win, could now return to old times at LASK. “I feel extremely comfortable here,” emphasized Berisha, who meets a former partner in Captain Robert Zulj. In 2014 the duo won the double with Salzburg. In the test games, the “eights” already showed their old strengths. “I see myself as a box-to-box player who likes to be on the move a lot, demanding and distributing the balls,” is how he described his role. The oversupply in the midfield certainly makes things exciting.
However, the Kosovar team player (40 games) is unlikely to be involved from the start. “I didn’t play for a long time in the fall due to my injury. But now I feel in top shape again and have been able to fully participate in all the training sessions since I arrived at the training camp. The coaching team has built me up well step by step and helped me prepare from game to game “Given more minutes. It’s important for me now to get back into a rhythm,” said Berisha.
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