The player, the person – Liridon Krasniqi

Despite being amongst the rubble and dirt of a construction site, Liridon Krasniqi remained true to his desire to become a professional footballer.

Construction labour is physically demanding but Krasniqi is no stranger to hard work.

“When I was young, I was on the street,” Krasniqi said.

“Trying to help my family.”

Pulling long hours on a German construction site, the midfielder had plenty of time to think about where he wanted to take his life and what he wanted to be.

Unable to secure a professional contract, Krasniqi would spend a period away from football, and despite working in construction, he continued to train and push for his chance to return.

“I was training by myself,” he said.

“Rain, snow or wind whatever, I would train.

“I was training so hard because I knew the moment would come.”

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Pulling on a jersey and walking onto the field to play the world’s game at a professional level is a dream that many people aspire to realise, however, while trying to reach this grade many footballers have their spirit broken and have to face a harsh reality.

But not Krasniqi.

He never saw himself being anywhere other than on the football park.

“I always believe,” he said.

“I’ve taken many hits, but I would not give up.”

Krasniqi personifies persistence and tenacity, with his time labouring proving the ultimate test for the Kosovan.

“I was grinding all the time,” he said.

“It was a hard time.”

As a young prospect, Krasniqi showed promise, spending time with 1860 Munich, Bayern Munich and FC Nürnberg in Germany.

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Krasniqi’s talent was unquestionable and came through the Bayern academy system with the likes of current stars David Alaba and Thomas Müller.

“I’m very proud of my experience and very thankful for my time over there,” he said. 

He would make his professional debut with Mlada Boleslav, however, his time in the Czech Republic was short-lived.  

After another knockdown, released from his contract, Krasniqi would strive to rise again.

Krasniqi’s chance of a comeback was realised when he linked up with Turkey’s second tier.

He would continue his form and transfer to Kedah FA in the Malaysian Super League.

“I would describe my time in Malaysia as successful,” he said.

“I have a big love for this country.”

The Kosovan is renowned for his technical ability on the ball and his vision to thread a pass through the opposition’s lines.

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Krasniqi prides himself on being a player with multiple skills and wants to play his own unconventional style.

“I want to be unpredictable,” he said.

“If I succeed with this, then it will help the team.”

The prospect of heading to Australia and signing for the Newcastle Jets did come with its reservations for Krasniqi as the idea of moving further away from his European homeland seemed daunting.

“Malaysia was already so far away from home,” he said.

“I never saw myself going even further away.”

However, he soon discovered the vast opportunities which Australia had to offer.

“I felt a very warm welcome from the club while I was still in Malaysia,” he said.

“So, I was like damn I just want to be there.”

As a testament to his dedication, Krasniqi is becoming an integral part of Craig Deans side and provides the team with a cool, calm and collected presence in the midfield.

Krasniqi is a warrior in every aspect of the word and has rightfully earned his place in professional Australian football, with the town of Newcastle only wanting to see more of his trademark playing style.