Goran Pandev is Macedonia’s biggest football star at the moment. Born on the 27th of July in Strumica, he started his career in FK Belasica from his home town. After showing his skills at the famous Coppa Carnevalle in Viareggio, Italy, he was bought in 2001 by Milano giants, FC Internazionale. He spent there one season in the youth team before being loaned to Spezia Calcio in 2002. The same year, on the 21st of August, Pandev made his debut for the senior national team in a friendly match in Skopje against Malta. Early in the game, in just 5 minutes he scored his first goal for his Macedonia. And then the mystery began.
In that time, Pandev was playing for both senior and U-21 national teams because he was still young, with only 19 years when he made his senior debut. He waited a whole year for his second goal which came again in a friendly match but this time in Prilep against Albania.
As his career was going rapidly up, Pandev became a first name in the national team. He started to score goals more often for both Macedonia and Lazio, where he transferred in January 2004 as part of the transfer of Serbian international Dejan Stanković from Lazio to Inter.
So far he played 39 games for Macedonia in which he scored 13 goals. Everything seems normal except the number of his goals for the national team. The Football federation of Macedonia claims that he has scored 14 goals so far, same as all the Macedonian media. But how can that be?
First, lets see all of his goals:
Goal no1: 21.08.2002, Skopje, Macedonia – Malta 5:0 (friendly) in the 5th minute
Goal no2: 20.08.2003, Prilep, Macedonia – Albania 3:1 (friendly) in the 36th minute
Goal no3: 18.02.2004, Skopje, Macedonia – Bosnia & Herzegovina 1:0 (friendly) in the 22nd minute
Goal no4: 11.06.2004, Tallinn, Estonia – Macedonia 2:4 (friendly) in the 31st minute
Goal no5: 18.08.2004, Skopje, Macedonia – Armenia 3:0 (WC 2006 qual.) in the 5th minute
Goal no6: 09.10.2004, Skopje, Macedonia – Netherlands 2:2 (WC 2006 qual.) in the 45th minute
Goal no7: 04.06.2005, Yerevan, Armenia – Macedonia 1:2 (WC 2006 qual.) in the 29th minute from penalty
Goal no8: 04.06.2005, Yerevan, Armenia – Macedonia 1:2 (WC 2006 qual.) in the 46th minute
Goal no9: 08.06.2005, Teplice, Czech – Macedonia 6:1 (WC 2006 qual.) in the 14th minute
Goal no10: 11.10.2006, Andorra La Vella, Andorra – Macedonia 0:3 (EURO 2008 qual.) in the 13th minute
Goal no11: 17.10.2007, Skopje, Macedonia – Andorra 3:0 (EURO 2008 qual.) in the 59th minute
Goal no12: 20.08.2008, Luxembourg, Luxembourg – Macedonia 1:4 (friendly) in the 6th minute
Goal no13: 20.08.2008, Luxembourg, Luxembourg – Macedonia 1:4 (friendly) in the 45th minute
None can hide from the facts, and in this case the facts are saying that Goran Pandev has scored 13 goals for Macedonia, not 14 as FFM, newspaper Makedonski Sport and others are claiming. They may count some goal that he has scored in some non-official match against a club or a national team not accepted by FIFA which is opposite of the FIFA rules. MacedonianFootball.com supports this claiming that Pandev has scored 13 and not 14 goals. This is also supported by the RSSSF.com, the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation which also claims that Pandev does not have 14 goals behind his name. On their page it still stands 11 goals, because it is not updated after the match against Luxembourg in which Pandev scored twice. And 11 + 2 = 13.
This is a serious mistake by the Football federation of Macedonia which lead to many Macedonian media to make the same mistake with taking informations from the FFM. But this is not the only mistake in the Macedonian football statistics. Legendary player Gjorgji Hristov have scored 16 goals for the national team and not 17 as all the others are claiming. But about Hristov, some other time.