Here are 5 things you may not know about Werder Bremen star Milot Rashica.
|Milot Rashica.||Photo: Werder Bremen|
Milot Rashica was born in the town of Vushtrri in northern Kosovo. While growing up, he quickly realized that he had no interest in following in the footsteps of his father who is a dentist. Instead, Milot Rashica pursued a career as a footballer and took a step closer to his dream when his uncle - a former footballer - signed him up for a football school in Pristina.
"My father is a dentist, he wasn't a footballer. But my uncle played in the first league in Kosovo. He was the one who signed me up for the football school," Rashica told Sport Bild and added:
"At first, [my father] was a bit disappointed, because he hoped that I would become a dentist too. But when he realized that I had little interest in that, and when he saw me on the pitch, he supported my dream. And he drove me everywhere. Our hometown Vushtrria is about 60 kilometres away from the football school in Pristina."
2. Made his senior debut as a 16-year-old
As a youngster, Rashica went on trial at Belgian side Gent who offered him a deal. But he decided to turn down the offer and went on to make his debut for Vushtrria's first team in 2013 at the age of just 16.
3. Made his mark in the Netherlands
In September 2014, Rashica joined Dutch side Vitesse on a trial basis, and he ended up making the move to the Netherlands on a deal that took effect from 1 July 2015. Rashica did well at Vitesse and made 100 appearances, racking up 15 goals and 24 assists, before Werder paid €7 million to sign him in January 2018.
4. Fan favorite
Rashica played in two friendlies for the Albanian national team before he opted to switch to Kosovo in August 2016. The winger has since gone to score four goals in 25 appearances for Kosovo and has become a huge fan favorite in his home country.
"Many choose to have my name on the back of their Kosovo shirts. And many people in Kosovo wear Werder shirts as well. That makes me proud," he has said in an interview with Sport Bild.
5. Needed time to adjust to life at Werder
Rashica initially struggled a bit following his move to Werder before making his breakthrough in the 2018/19 season that saw him score nine goals and make five assists in 26 matches.
"It took me a few months to get used to the playing style, tactics, intensity and pace," Rashica told Sport Bild and added that veteran striker Claudio Pizarro helped him settle in:
"After I had missed some opportunities, [Pizarro] told me: 'Hey, it's really good that you're getting to such chances. The goals will come!' If anyone should know about that, it's him. Everyone in the team stood behind me. That's part of why I feel at home here."