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Football community pay tribute to former player and coach Liam Vidal

The Malta football fraternity expressed its solidarity following the death of Liam Vidal, a former Malta U-16 international, on Tuesday.

Vidal, 41, had been receiving treatment at Mater Dei Hospital for serious injuries he sustained when he was found lying on the ground alongside a burning car in Marsaxmxett, Valletta on Saturday.

In a statement, the Malta FA paid tribute to Vidal who had formed part of the Malta U-16 selection that played in a UEFA tournament between 1996 and 1997.

“The Malta FA is deeply saddened to learn that Liam Vidal has passed away,” an MFA statement said.

“Vidal, was part of the Malta U16 NT that played in the U16 UEFA Tournament between 1996-1997.  He was put in as a substitute in both the away and home games against France on the 16th of October 1996, and the 10th of March 1997.

“Vidal played with Sliema Wanderers and Gzira at youths level and then moved on to play regularly in the lower divisions. He played for Ta’ Xbiex, Msida, Gzira, Qrendi and Luqa with 93 official domestic appearances and scoring 15 goals. 

“On behalf of the members of the Malta football community, we extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.  Rest in peace Liam.”

Liam Mangion, a former team-mate with Vidal, also expressed a touching tribute to the former Sliema Wanderers Nursery player.

“As young kids growing up in the streets of Msida and Ta’ Xbiex, all we did was kick a ball around. It was quite amusing because we both had the same name so you would be Vidal and I would be Mangion or as they called us LIAAM 1 and LIAAM 2 (never pronounced well of course), the other kids never got it right. (Don’t blame them), for our names were fresh in the hood.

“From Sliema Wanderers FC Nursery, to playing with the National Team together, to playing against eachother, and also playing together again with Gzira United Football Club, we always enjoyed each other’s company and had very big respect for each other.

We wouldn’t see each other for a long time, but when we did we always greeted each other with so much enthusiasm for our childhood memories are unique and unforgettable.

“This morning we wake up to shocking and sad news.

“A very sad story to find out that a lovely soul has left us – Liam Vidal May you Rest In Peace my friend and condolences to all your family.

“I want to remember you for your cheeky smile and the talent you possessed with the ball at your feet.

“We will definitely kick a ball together in heaven when we meet again Legend.”

The Valletta FC Youth Development Sector also paid tribute Vidal who had spent time coaching at their nursery.

“The Valletta FC Youth Development would like to join the Valletta community to show its solidarity for the loss of former Academy coach Liam Vidal who died this morning,” a statement said.

“We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

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