Ivan Balliu, the Catalonian playing for Albania

06/10/2017 00:00

Ivan Balliu is the player of the Albanian national football team who attracted attention of Catalonian media outlets.

Balliu was born in Catalonia, and he has played at the Barcelona academy, known as La Masia.

He played until he was 21 with names such as Bartra, Muniesa, Thiago and Sergi Roberto, with who he still has a friendship.

He has worked under the orders of Luis Enrique, Guardiola and Tito Vilanova. One year ago he contacted with the Albanian Football Federation, but he received his Albanian passport only this year, making himself immediately available for Chritian Panucci.

Balliu has also been part of the Spanish teams U16 and U 17, where he has known Isco and Koke.

He had never been to Albania and he communicates with Panucci in Spanish, while with his team mates in English or French.

Balliu will have the support of his relatives as well, who will travel from Catalonia at the Rico Perez stadium. His father, Salvador Balliu, former Mayor of the Caldes de Malavella, had never imagined that he would see his son one day playing for Albania.

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