The Maltese football fraternity will today celebrate the extraordinary international career of Michael Mifsud as the veteran striker makes his final appearance for the national team in a friendly against Liechtenstein at the National Stadium (kick-off: 6pm).
In an international career spanning almost 20 years, the 39-year-old has established himself as one of the legendary players in the history of Maltese football making a record 142 appearances for the national team while also setting a new record of goals scored with the red shirt when amassing 41 goals.
Therefore, it was more than fitting from the Malta Football Association to organize this farewell match for Mifsud who is expected to captain the side one last time this evening.
“At the moment, there are a lot of emotions passing through my mind,” Mifsud told a news conference.
“For me it will be a very special day and I am really looking forward to it. The national team has always had a special place in my heart, and I have always given my 100 per cent each time I donned the shirt and tomorrow will be no exception.
“My goal is to help my team-mates achieve another positive result for my country and hopefully it will be a perfect way for me to bid farewell to the
A match against Liechtenstein brings with it some fond memories for the Sirens striker as it was against the European minnows that he produced one of his most lethal performances for the national team in 2008 when he scored five goals in a seven-goal thrashing at the National Stadium.
Asked whether he is looking forward to put his name on the scoresheet for one last time today, Mifsud responded: “My main objective tomorrow, as a I said, is to help the team get a good result, nothing more.
“I am grateful to the Malta Football Association for giving me this opportunity to play for my country one last time. It has been a long journey and now that I am 39 years old, I felt that this day would come sooner or later.
“I had a great career with the national team and I am just grateful for that.”
Looking back at his career, Mifsud said: “There have been some memorable moments in my career, with the win in Armenia being my favourite one for sure.
“On the other hand, each time we couldn’t hold onto a positive result after conceding late goals were the most frustrating for sure… as I hate losing.”
Mifsud returned to the national team fold for the first time since the end of the Euro 2020 qualifiers and the former Coventry and Lillestroem striker said that he can sense a bright future for the national team.
“At the moment, it’s clear that there is a big change in how things are being run in the national team,” Mifsud said.
“There is a good blend of young and established players who have a great talent. I watch some matches of the national team and there is no doubt in my mind that the future of the national team is bright.
“The team is playing constructive football and there is a clear plan on which the coaches are working on. So, there is a lot to look forward to.”
Mifsud is expected to be included in the starting formation of the national team which is set to be without coach Devis Mangia who is in his final days of a mandatory quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.
The team today will be under the guidance of Mangia’s assistants Davide Mazzotta, who formed part of Antonio Conte’s technical staff at Chelsea, and Guillermo Giacomazzi, formerly on the books of Serie A side Lecce.
Mazzotta said that all players in the national squad are keen to give a perfect send off to Mifsud.
“It would be nice to celebrate Michael Mifsud’s international career with a victory,” Mazzotta said.
“Tomorrow is the perfect occasion to remember what Michael Mifsud gave to Maltese football and what he received from the game.
“The players are raring to go and hopefully it will be a great day of celebration for both Michael and Maltese football in general.”
This evening’s friendly match against Liechtenstein will act as a perfect
build-up ahead of Saturday’s UEFA Nations League qualifiers against Andorra and the Faroe Islands, three days later.
Mazzotta said that the team’s approach will be the same as in previous matches irrespective of the opponents and hinted that several fringe players will again be given the chance to stake a claim for a first-team place.
“Every match for us is an opportunity to help the team to grow and maintain the path started by our coach Devis Mangia,” Mazzotta said.
“It will also be a perfect opportunity to have a look at some young players as we have a large squad training with us. But whoever will play will follow our usual gameplan and our goal is to get another positive result.
“We are by no means underestimating Liechtensein and we are approaching the match with maximum focus.”
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