The attacking-midfielder becomes the first-ever player from Malaysia to play in the ISL.

Odisha FC have announced the signing of Liridon Krasniqi ahead of the 2021/22 season of the Indian Super League. The 29-year-old joins on a one-year loan from Malaysian Super League team Johor Darul Ta’zim. The ISL outfit have undertaken an overhaul after a dismal performance in the previous edition of the league.

The club has revamped their foreign contingent, signing four players from Spain. Liridon Krasniqi joins the ranks as the AFC player. The Malaysian will make his debut in Indian football and it will be interesting to see how he adapts.

Here is the profile of Odisha FC’s newest arrival, summarizing what he brings to the table:

Past experience

Before making his first senior appearance for FK Mlada Boleslav in 2011, Krasniqi played for FC Nurnberg’s U-17 and SK Slavia Prague’s U-19 teams. He moved to Turkey in 2013 to play for clubs like Ankaraspor, Fethiyespor and Osmanlispor. The midfielder moved to Malaysia for the first time in 2015 to play for MSL side Kedah Darul Aman. 

His next destination was Melaka United in 2019 and later moved to Johor Darul Ta’zim in the same year. Krasniqi played for A-League outfit Newcastle United Jets from February to June 2021 on loan. Odisha FC are his latest employers and India will become the latest country on his resume.

Club career stats

Liridon Krasniqi has played most extensively in the Malaysian Super League. He has played 34 games, recording eight goals and 14 assists. He has played 33 matches in the second division in Turkey, managing two goals and three assists. In terms of representing clubs, he has played most times for Fethiyespor (34 games).

Hiis most productive performances have come for Kedah Darul Aman. The Malaysian played 31 times for them, scoring 10 and assisting 15 goals. In terms of overall stats, Krasniqi has 95 appearances, 15 goals and 20 assists. Furthermore, he is a two-time Malaysian league winner with Kedah (2014/15) and Johor (2019/20) respectively.

Last season’s performance

Liridon Krasniqi did not have a very productive season last year. He made nine appearances in the Australian A-League for Newcastle United Jets. He could not produce any attacking returns and recorded only 184 minutes of football.

In addition to the lack of game-time, he could not taste a single win while playing for the Australian outfit. The nine appearances resulted in seven losses and two draws. 

Type of player

Liridon Krasniqi is an attacking midfielder. However, he can also shift in as a deep-lying playmaker. His passing qualities should complement the Spanish influence at Odisha FC. The 29-year-old is also an enabler, with an 82% dribble success rate. One can expect him to keep a hold of the ball and dribble out of tricky situations.

Given his past record, the midfielder has an eye for assists. The forwards will enjoy his quality in the final third, especially during the transitions. Liridon can also execute the role of a box-to-box player and is an asset in the midfield across multiple positions. The 189cm tall player is also a big presence in set-piece situations, whether it is in attack or defence. 

How the player fits in manager’s plans

It will be interesting to see how Kiko Ramirez will incorporate the Malaysian in his plans. One can expect the tactician to start the four Spaniards. This is because only four foreign players will be allowed on the pitch from the eighth edition of the ISL. However, the midfielder can ensure a starting place for himself with good attacking returns. 

“Liridon is going to give us character, attitude and intensity. He is a player with a high physical capacity and has good technique. He is a box-to-box midfielder who can help us both in attack and in defence and will give us the energy that the team needs to fight for the entire duration of 90 minutes,” Kiko Ramirez said about the newest arrival in the squad.

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