The Maltese who put down United

In the preliminaries of the EURO 2012, Malta managed to draw, 1-1, with Georgia. That was the first match of the campaign in which the small country did not lose. The mini performance was brought by Michael Mifsud, Malta’s most successful player from all time. The striker gathered so far an impressive number of 31 (!) goals for the national side. This seems incredible if we consider that he only has 30 years and played already 86 games for Malta.

In conclusion, a great striker for a small team, that also has more achievements until our days. It is supposed that such small squads can’t have big names. And Mifsud it isn’t a huge one, but he was an indispensable man for teams such are Coventry City, Barnsley or even Kaiserslautern. Born in Sliema, Michael signed his first contract with local team, Wanderers, the most successful team of Maltese football and spent there four years before joining Kaiserslautern and another half after that. The spell in English was preceded by four excellent years in Norway, at Lillestrom.

Even though he did not play in Premier League, the most beautiful memories for the 1,65 meters forward are strong tight with Manchester United, England’s most powerful team of all time. It looks very strange, but in July 1999, when Mifsud was only 18 years old, Sir Alex Ferguson called him from a trail, but eventually failed to convince. Nobody can accuse him of lack of value, if we remember that the event happened only a few weeks after ‘The devils’ won ‘The tremble’.

Ferguson did not held Michael then, but his eye spotted very well his qualities and the striker ‘rewarded’ him with a great match against United. It happened on 26th of September 2007, in the League Cup, when he was under contract with Coventry. Mifsud scored both goals in the dispute against United and secured an incredible 2-0 victory and, automatically, a qualification. And his remarkable performance could not pass unobserved, so ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’, one of the most important sports newspaper from Italy and from whole Europe, named him after the game ‘Messi of Malta’! More often he is called ‘The Mosquito’.

Despite his entire success, Michael did not win but one Maltese Cup (2000) and one Maltese League (2004). Also, after leaving England, in 2009, he did not manage to obtain a good contract outside the borders of his native country, even that he had Chicago Fire (USA) and Pohang Steelers (South Korea). Mifsud returned to play in Malta, first a short spell at FC La Valletta and after a few games at Qormi. Finally, in 2011 he put the pen on a four years contract with Valletta.

The unbelievable number of 31 goals, scored for the national team, begun in 2000, the year in which he made his first appearances for Malta. The most important dates for his career, except the one in which he defeated Mancheter United all by himself, are:

11.10.2006 – he scored both goals of the 2-1 victory over Hungary, in the preliminaries for EURO 2008, in what was Malta’s first competitive victory since 1982!
27.03.2008 – Mifsud managed to put in five goals in a single game, a 7-1 victory in the friendly against Liechtenstein.

03.03.2010 – scoring in the exhibition match against Finland (1-2), he surpassed Carmel Busuttil the top scorer of Malta, until then, with 23 goals.

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