Berat Djimsiti: Albania's Defensive Anchor Eyeing European Glory

Berat Djimsiti, the captain of Albania, aims to cap his successful season with Atalanta by leading Albania to surprising results in the European Championship. Integral to Atalanta’s recent triumphs, Djimsiti's resilience and leadership will be pivotal as Albania faces tough opponents in Group B, including Italy, Croatia, and Spain.

Reuters | Updated: 03-06-2024 07:38 IST | Created: 03-06-2024 07:38 IST
Berat Djimsiti: Albania's Defensive Anchor Eyeing European Glory

Albania captain Berat Djimsiti will be looking to round off a dream season at club level with Atalanta by helping to produce shock results with his country at the European Championship.

The 31-year-old centre back was an integral part of Atalanta's lineup as they won the Europa League final and finished in the top five in Serie A to earn a Champions League berth next season. He missed only a handful of games for the Bergamo-based club, which he joined in 2016 from FC Zurich, and is among a host of Serie A players who will line up for Albania in Germany.

They start their tough Group B campaign against holders Italy in Dortmund with Djimsiti sending out a clear warning. "Let's be clear, we are not afraid of anyone. It's true, Italy is strong, has history, and are the favourites. But football teaches us that there are always surprises," he said.

Djimsiti was among several Swiss-born players with Albanian roots who elected to switch international allegiance. He won youth caps for Switzerland but changed loyalty 10 years ago. Although he had made seven appearances for Albania before their debut appearance at Euro 2016, he was left out of the final 23-man squad for the tournament in France.

But Djimsiti put the disappointment aside to win 57 caps and take over as skipper of the national side, who qualified for a second Euros by finishing top of Group E ahead of the Czech Republic. He missed only one qualifier for Euro 2024. "The fact that I couldn't be there spurred me on. Now it's with great pride to be part of the national team and to wear the armband," he said.

Albania have been given a difficult task in Germany with World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and Spain also in their group. Djimsiti was still a teenager when he debuted at FC Zurich in 2012, having worked his way through the junior ranks. He then played four full campaigns before a free transfer to Serie A.

He has been at Atalanta for nine seasons, although loan spells at Avellino and Benevento helped to polish him for the rigours of the Italian league. This term Djimsiti, whose contract runs until 2026, has shown his best form and Albania will be looking to profit from that continuing over the next few weeks.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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