One of the all-time best Macedonian central defenders has put an end to his long and rich career.
Igor Mitreski, once key part of Macedonian national team defence, decided to retire at the age of 35. The Struga born player started his career in Macedonia’s capital city of Skopje within the youth academy of Makedonija Gjorche Petrov. He was noticed few years later while playing for First League side Sileks when he drew the attention of Russian giant Spartak Moskva. In the same time came his senior national team debut in a friendly game against the Czech Republic in February 2001 in Skopje that ended 1:1. As a 21-year old he joined the Red&White where he quickly established himself as one of the best young defenders of the Russian league. His great performances in the Champions League especially in the clashes against Bayern München led to several transfer speculations linking him with Manchester United and the Bavarian giant.
After 3 years at Spartak in which he won the league and the cup, Mitreski spent the next two years in Ukraine and Israel before eventually joining a Bundesliga side. It wasn’t Bayern but Energie from Cottbus where he played for 3,5 years with a 6 month loan to Beerschot in Belgium during his third year there. He completed the 2009/10 season with a brief adventure at Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia before moving to his final destination, Azeri side Neftçi from Baku. There as a veteran he was once again showing performances as in his glory days, leading Neftçi to 3 league and 2 cup titles.
For Macedonia he played 70 games since his debut in February 2001 until his last appearance in October 2011 when he entered the EURO 2012 road qualifier against Armenia in the 60th minute. Few days later he spent the entire game on the bench in the last campaign match against Slovakia in Skopje. As he had already announced his retirement from the national team, before the game he was given a plaque and a Macedonian top with the number 70. He scored one penalty goal when he brought the win in a friendly against Ecuador and also once he missed a penalty in a EURO 2008 qualifier against Russia in Moscow.
Hanging up his boots won’t mean that we won’t see Igor around football anymore as he already accepted a managerial job at Shkendija.