5 questions with Armend Alimi

Armend Alimi (#10); photo: protathlima.comThe next player to feature in our interview series is Armend Alimi, a midfielder who currently plays for Ermis and has been capped 9 times by the Macedonian national team.

Armend Alimi turned 26 years old this past December and currently is under contract with Cypriot club Ermis.  His club has been one of the biggest surprises in Cyprus by finishing the regular season in 4th place.  Alimi has been a regular started for the club, playing in attacking midfield, central midfield and also defensive midfield along the way.

Besides his current stint in Cyprus, Armend has also played in Macedonia, Croatia and Sweden.  Alimi has 9 appearances for the Macedonian national team, but hasn’t been called up over the past couple of years.  So, we contacted him to see whether he has retired from international duty or what the reason was for his absence from the national team.

Besides that topic, we also talked to Alimi about the start of his career, the comparison between the countries where he has played his club football, his preferred position and his contract status with Ermis.

Below is our question and answer session with Alimi:

MF: Armend, tell us more about the start of your career? When did you start training and what will you remember most about your time in Macedonian football?
AI: I began with football when I was 11-12 years old with Bashkimi, and that was at the urging of my father who wanted me to get involved with the game. I debuted with the first team of Bashkimi when I was 17 years old. At that time, Bashkimi played in the top division and my best memory is when, despite financial problems, the club avoided relegation in the final round when we beat Vardar at home 4:1. I played there until I had to leave due to the financial problems. I then moved to Milano where we had good successes by playing in the cup final and once finishing second in the championship.

MF: After Macedonia, you have played in Croatia, Sweden and now Cyprus. How would you compare the conditions and quality in those four leagues?
AI: I think that, yes, there are differences between these leagues. When it comes to conditions, I believe that Sweden is better than the others, but not necessarily in quality. Here is Cyprus there are many players who have played for big clubs and achieved success. There is a reason that a club like APOEL recently played in the group stages of the Champions League, and that this year them together with Apollon played in the group stages of the Europa League. However, some of the financial crisis in Cyprus has affected some teams who have experienced problems.

MF: What position suits you best and why do you think that?
AI: Playing in offensive midfield suits me best. I don’t know why I feel that, but I just like to be as closer to the opposing goal. I think I can bring a lot to the table at that position. But, I have even played in defensive midfield when needed with my current club Ermis.

MF: You have been capped 9 times for the senior national team of Macedonia, but you haven’t been called up in years. Do you still want to play for the Macedonian national team? If so, why do you think you didn’t receive a chance in the last couple of years?
AI: Of course I would like to, why not. I believe that I’m in good playing form as I have had a successful season until now. I don’t know why I haven’t received a chance, that is not for me to comment on, but I honestly doubt that it’s due to quality.

MF: Finally, how are you feeling at Ermis?  How is your contract status and do you see yourself there in the next several years?
AI: I am feeling fantastic up until now. We have good conditions, a good manager and also here at Ermis is an assistant coach from Macedonia in Borche Gjurev who has helped me a lot. We recently advanced in the semi-finals of the Cypriot cup and will now play in the final which is a great achievement for this club, just as is 4th place in the league standings. My contract with Ermis is until May of this year, after that I’m a free agent.  Honestly, I don’t know what will transpire after that, I still haven’t decided.

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