Lorik Cana

Lorik Cana

Lorik Cana with Nantes in 2015
Personal information
Full name Lorik Agim Cana
Date of birth (1983-07-27) 27 July 1983
Place of birth Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Defender, Defensive midfielder,
Central midfielder
Youth career
1997–2000 Dardania Lausanne
2000–2001 Paris Saint-Germain
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2003 Paris Saint-Germain B 39 (2)
2002–2005 Paris Saint-Germain 69 (2)
2005–2009 Marseille 122 (6)
2009–2010 Sunderland 31 (0)
2010–2011 Galatasaray 24 (1)
2011–2015 Lazio 82 (4)
2015–2016 Nantes 21 (0)
National team
2003–2016 Albania 93 (1)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:38, 15 May 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 02:09, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Lorik Agim Cana (Albanian pronunciation: [ˈlɔɾik ˈtsana]; born 27 July 1983) is an Albanian former professional footballer. He played with and captained the Albanian senior team. Cana is also Albania's most capped player of all time, with 93 caps since he made his debut in 2003 until his retirement in 2016. He participated in the first major international competition for Albania; UEFA Euro 2016. He used to play primarily as a defensive midfielder. He played in the top divisions of France, England, Italy and Turkey, representing both rivals Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille at the start of his career.

Club career

Early life

Cana was born in Pristina to Agim Cana, a former football player of KF Prishtina. Cana watched every Prishtina match since he was five years old and describes himself as an avid fan of the team. Cana's father's experience in football inspired him to take up the sport.

Early career

In 1997, Cana joined the local team Dardania Lausanne, an amateur football club founded by the Albanian community in Lausanne, coached by his father.[1] He played at Dardania until 2000, when he was spotted and signed by French club Paris Saint-Germain.

Paris Saint-Germain

Cana had previously been invited to Arsenal at the age of 16 for a trial, but failed to attend because he was denied a British visa.[2] At Paris Saint-Germain, he spent three years working through the ranks of the French club. Cana finally made the first team in 2003 and quickly became a main player. During the 2003–04 season, he played in 32 games and scored one goal as the team won the Coupe de France and finished second in the Ligue 1, proving to be one of the most successful seasons of his career so far. This was repeated the next season, when he also played 32 games for the Paris team and scored one goal. In his senior debut for PSG, he was awarded the Man of the Match.


Cana playing for Marseille in 2008

At the beginning of the 2005–06 season, however, there was a change of coach at Paris Saint-Germain and Cana fell out of favour. This prompted him to move to the south of France to join Marseille. After joining OM, he cemented his place in the starting XI and scored the winning goal in the first match between his new club and his former club, PSG. He also became team captain after the departure of the former captain Habib Beye to Newcastle United during the summer of 2007.

Cana left the club for English Premier League side Sunderland in August 2009. However, during his four years in Southern France, he failed to win a single trophy. He was described as a very aggressive defender during that time and nowadays he mentions that Marseille was his favourite team of all time and he would go back if they gave him an offer.


Cana joined Sunderland on a four-year contract for a fee of around £5 million on 24 July 2009.[3] He was soon handed the team's captaincy by manager Steve Bruce,[4] although Bruce later stated a captain had yet to be appointed.[5] On 15 August, Cana made his league debut for Sunderland and contributed with an impressive performance in a 1–0 win over Bolton Wanderers, becoming the first Albanian player to play in the Premier League.[6] He was appointed as Sunderland's captain for the 2009–10 season on 3 September.[7]


Cana joined Galatasaray on 8 July 2010 for a €4.5 million transfer fee.[8] He signed a four-year contract worth €2 million per season, plus bonuses based on appearances. His stay at the club was hampered by a back injury during mid-season. Because they were going through a crisis throughout the whole season, Cana failed to make much of an impact, though he was still a favourite of the supporters because of his resilience on the pitch.


On 3 July 2011, Cana signed for Italian Serie A club Lazio, becoming the club's fifth signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Miroslav Klose, Djibril Cissé, Senad Lulić and Abdoulay Konko. He was purchased as an exchange for 50% registration rights of goalkeeper Fernando Muslera going to Galatasaray with Lazio tagging them both for a peppercorn fee in the financial accounts. Galatasaray paid an additional €6.75 million to Montevideo Wanderers to acquire the other 50% registration rights of Muslera, made up of 50% rights that Lazio sold and the full rights of Cana that Lazio acquired which were also worth around €6.75 million at that time.

Cana made his debut for Lazio on 21 September in a 2–1 away victory over Cesena, coming on as a substitute in the 87th minute in place of Cristian Brocchi.[9] He scored his first goal for Lazio on 10 December 2011 against Lecce in a 3–2 win after coming on as a substitute for Giuseppe Biava in the start of the second-half.[10] After sustaining many niggling injuries throughout the season, on 31 January 2012, Lazio confirmed that Cana would miss six weeks due to a back injury sustained in training.[11] After returning from injury, Cana started to quickly recover his form. With Lazio's players constantly being haunted with injuries and suspensions, Cana took his chance in the midfield. This resulted in his best performance in the 2011–12 season, where he scored a 25-yard goal on 6 May 2012 against Atalanta, thus keeping Lazio's UEFA Champions League hopes alive.[12] He finished his first season at Lazio with 15 Serie A appearances as Lazio finished in fourth place.

2012–13 season

Cana began another season at Lazio with the opening match of the new campaign against Atalanta on 26 August 2012, finishing in a 1–0 victory for Lazio, in which Cana came on as a substitute in the 84th minute for Álvaro González.[13] He started his first match of the season on 31 October, playing the full 90 minutes of a 1–1 draw against Torino.[14] On 23 February 2013, Cana was included in UEFA's best XI of the week for the 2012–13 Europa League round of 16 as he had excelled in a 2–0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach.[15] He started in the remainder of matches in the second half of the season. He finished the 2012–13 season with a total of 24 league appearances, playing in five Coppa Italia matches and also nine matches in the UEFA Europa League.

2013–14 season

In the 2013–14 season, on 24 November, Cana scored his first domestic goal, which saved the team from losing against Sampdoria. He scored in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time to ensure a 1–1 draw.[16] He scored his second goal on 2 March 2014 against Fiorentina in the fifth minute of the match, which finished with a 0–1 Lazio victory.[17] With a spectacular bicycle kick, he scored the only goal in a crucial match and to give Lazio the three points, right after elimination from the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League. The hero of the match unquestionably Cana, not only scored but also defended his score by making truly spectacular intervention in defense. Also with this win, Lazio managed to get back in the fight for a place in the Europa League.[18]

Cana finished the 2013–14 season with 26 appearances in Serie A, one in Coppa Italia and six in the Europa League, the latter all as a starter and for the full 90 minutes. Cana was also included in the best Seria A defenders of 2013–14 season and was ranked as the fourth-best defender with 344 balls won in 16 matches, beating Emerson (fifth), Mehdi Benatia (sixth), Cristián Zapata (seventh), Federico Ceccherini (eighth), Stefan Savić (ninth) and Shkodran Mustafi (tenth).[19]

2014–15 season

On 23 August 2014, a few days before the start of the Serie A new season, some media analysists warned about a strong rivalry between Cana and two Lazio's new summer signings, Stefan de Vrij and Santiago Gentiletti, for two starting places in the centre-defence and about a possibility for Cana to become a third choice in the center-defense of the Biancocelesti.[20] In the opening match of the 2014–15 season on 31 August 2014, Cana played the full 90 minutes, resigning Gentiletti to the bench and playing alongside De Vrij in a 3–1 loss to Milan.[21][22] In the next fixture, on 14 September 2014, Cana was an unused substitute for the entire match against Cesena (3–0) behind De Vrij and Gentiletti.[23] In the third matchweek, on 21 September, Cana came in as a substitute in the 69th minute in place of Gentiletti, who left the pitch due to an injury and also a minute after De Vrij received his second yellow card; ten-men Lazio lost the match 1–0.[24] It was predicted Cana to play as a starter in the upcoming match of fourth matchweek on 26 September against Udinese, after both other central defenders were absent, whereas Gentiletti was rumored to be awaited by several weeks of absence until his complete recovery from the injury.[25] Against Udinese, Cana started with another central defender, Diego Novaretti, and played the entire 90 minutes, which finished in a 1–0 loss.[26] After an excellent performance in the 3–0 victory against Atalanta on 16 December 2014, Cana was included in the best XI of the Serie A week, alongside teammates Senad Lulić and Felipe Anderson.[27]


After four years in Italy with Lazio, on 31 August 2015, Cana returned to the French Ligue 1 after signing a two-year contract with Nantes.[28] On 21 November 2015, he played his 200th Ligue 1 match during the 1–0 away loss against Monaco.[29][30]

He left the club in the summer 2016.[31]

International career

Cana was eligible to play for either Albania, Switzerland or France, as he held all three passports.[32] Cana chose Albania in early 2003 after receiving a call-up from the Albanian Football Association along with the coach Hans-Peter Briegel.

After accepting the invitation, he made his international debut for Albania on 11 June 2003 at the age of just 19 against Switzerland in a Euro 2004 qualifying match, coming on as a substitute in the second half for Geri Çipi. The match finished in a 3–2 loss for Albania.[33] On 12 September 2007, he was sent off by referee Mike Riley in the 87th minute of Albania's home game against the Netherlands, after an altercation with Wesley Sneijder and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Euro 2012 qualifiers

Cana was given the captain's armband for the first time in a friendly match on 25 May 2010 against Montenegro, which finished in a 10 victory.[34] He captained for the first time in an official match on 8 October 2010 in the match for UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying against Bosnia and Herzegovina which finished in a 1–1 draw.[35] Then he captained another two matches both against the country where he played for many years, France, first on 2 September 2011 and then on 7 October 2011.[36][37] After the end of the Euro 2012 qualification campaign in October 2011, Altin Lala and Ervin Skela retired from international football, and Cana became a regular captain of Albania.[38]

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification

In the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, Cana played every minute in nine out ten matches valid for the Group E, missing just the match against Norway on 7 June 2013 due to a suspension for accumulating yellow cards.[39] Albania were eliminated from the competition as they ranked in the fifth out of six places, finishing with a record of 3–2–5.[40]

Cana was included in the best XI of the players that missed out at the 2014 FIFA World Cup final stages because of failing to qualify with their national team.[41]

Euro 2016 qualifiers

Cana started the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign by playing the full 90 minutes in an historical 1–0 away victory against Portugal.[42]

In the Serbia–Albania match, part of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying Group I, and played on 14 October 2014, Cana wrestled a Serbian fan to the ground.[43] The fan, who had previously hit Bekim Balaj with a chair, bit Cana's finger and tried to cut it with his teeth. Cana reported that he got injured by it.[44] After the match, Cana, along with Taulant Xhaka, were declared citizens of honour from the mayor of the city of Mitrovica, Kosovo, for the bravery shown in protecting national symbols.[45] Cana received a similar award by the city of Bajram Curri in northern Albania.[46]

Euro 2016

Cana captained Albania in their opening match of the UEFA Euro 2016 against Switzerland. He was booked early on for a foul on Blerim Džemaili before becoming the first player to be sent off in the tournament just before half-time, receiving his marching orders after handling the ball outside the box.[47] Cana announced his retirement from international football on 23 June 2016.[48]

Personal life

Lorik Cana is the son of retired footballer Agim Cana.[49] His father's career brought the family to Kosovo, but because of war in the region, Lorik and his family were forced to flee to Lausanne, Switzerland, where they stayed for nine years.[6] He is a UNO-ambassador against poverty.[49][50] In an interview, Cana stated that archeology is one of his biggest interests and that he plans to work in the Albanology field after his footballing career after pursuing a university degree in History.[49] He married Monica Ercoli, an Italian, on 8 June 2014 and the ceremony took place on 27 June 2014.[51][52]

Career statistics


As of 23 August 2016[53][54][55][56]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental[lower-alpha 1] Total
Paris Saint-Germain B 2000–01 CFA 4040
2001–02 CFA 121121
2002–03 CFA 231231
Total 392392
Paris Saint-Germain 2002–03 Ligue 1 3000000030
2003–04 Ligue 1 3212020361
2004–05 Ligue 1 32110106[lower-alpha 2]0401
2005–06 Ligue 1 20000020
Total 692303060812
Marseille 2005–06 Ligue 1 28170008[lower-alpha 3]0431
2006–07 Ligue 1 33260105[lower-alpha 4]0452
2007–08 Ligue 1 34251009[lower-alpha 5]0483
2008–09 Ligue 1 271000012[lower-alpha 6]1392
Total 1226181103411758
Sunderland 2009–10 Premier League 3102020350
Total 3102020350
Galatasaray 2010–11 Süper Lig 241403[lower-alpha 7]0311
Total 2414030311
Lazio 2011–12 Serie A 152006[lower-alpha 7]0212
2012–13 Serie A 240509[lower-alpha 7]0380
2013–14 Serie A 262006[lower-alpha 8]0322
2014–15 Serie A 17030200
Total 824802101114
Nantes 2015–16 Ligue 1 2103000240
Total 2103000240
Career total 388153816064149617
  1. Including continental competitions, such as UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League
  2. All appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  3. All appearance(s) in UEFA Cup
  4. Two appearances in UEFA Intertoto Cup, three appearances in UEFA Cup
  5. Six appearances in UEFA Champions League, three appearances in UEFA Cup
  6. Eight appearances in UEFA Champions League, four appearances in UEFA Cup
  7. 1 2 3 All appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
  8. Six appearances in UEFA Champions League, three appearances in UEFA Cup


As of 19 June 2016[53][57]
Albania national team

International goals

As of match played 19 June 2016. Albania score listed first, score column indicates score after each Cana goal.[57]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 17 August 2005 Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania 16  Azerbaijan 2–1 2–1 Friendly



Paris Saint-Germain[58]



  1. "Agim Cana Entraîneur du Dardania Lausanne". 24heures.ch (in French). 19 August 1997. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  2. "Cana: Arsenali më ka kërkuar si 16-vjeçar" (in Albanian). Pristina, Kosovo: Telegrafi.com. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010. Jam ftuar nga Arsenali për prova kur kam pasur 16 vjet, por nuk mund të vija për shkak të problemeve me vizën.
  3. "Sunderland sign Marseille captain". BBC Sport. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  4. "Catt fight is not over yet". Sunderland Echo. 25 July 2009. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  5. Fraser, Paul (15 August 2009). "Skipper's crown is awaiting Dunne". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  6. 1 2 "Alas, poor Lorik — Cana has gone from Kosovo refugee to a Sunderland hero". Daily Mail. London.
  7. "Exclusive: Cana for captain". Sunderland AFC. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  8. "Profesyonel oyuncu Lorik Cana'nın Sunderland FC Kulübünden 4.500.000 avro bedelle transferi.". Turkish Public Disclosure System (in Turkish). 8 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
  9. Cesena vs. Lazio - 21 September 2011 - Soccerway
  10. Serie A Lecce vs. Lazio Team line-ups Goal.com
  11. Serie A Lazio vs Milan Match preview Goal.com
  12. Atalanta vs. Lazio - 6 May 2012 - Soccerway
  13. Atalanta vs. Lazio - 26 August 2012 - Soccerway
  14. Lazio vs. Torino - 31 October 2012 - Soccerway
  15. Cana në formacionin më të mirë të UEFA-s për Europa Ligën - Sporti Shqiptar Online Sporti Shqiptar
  16. Cana shënon dhe shpëton Lacion (video) aSport.al
  17. Fiorentina vs. Lazio - 2 March 2014 - Soccerway
  18. Cana kopjon Salihin, shënon me roveshatë - Sporti Shqiptar Online - Sporti Shqiptar
  19. Lorik Cana në “Top-5″ e mbrojtësve më të mirë në Serie A Lajme Online
  20. "Lorik Cana, drejt pankinës te Lacio". Panorama Sport. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  21. Milan vs. Lazio - 31 August 2014 - Soccerway
  22. "Etrit Berisha dhe Cana, titullarë ndaj Milanit". Panorama Sport. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  23. Lazio vs. Cesena - 14 September 2014 - Soccerway
  24. Genoa vs. Lazio - 21 September 2014 - Soccerway
  25. "Lorik Cana, titullar ndaj Udinezes". Panorama Sport. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  26. Lazio vs. Udinese - 25 September 2014 - Soccerway
  27. "Cana në formacionin e javës në Serie A (FOTO)". Gazeta Express. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  28. "Zyrtare, Cana nënshkruan për dy vite me Nantën". Panorama Sport (in Albanian). 30 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  29. "Cana, 200 ndeshje në Ligue 1". Telegrafi.com (in Albanian). 21 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  30. "Monaco vs. Nantes 1 – 0". Soccerway. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  31. Former Sunderland midfielder Lorik Cana leaves Nantes after just one season‚ talksport.com, 26 August 2016
  32. Cana: Do të shënojmë dhe fitojmë ndaj Bjellorusisë! Yll Press > Sport: Kombëtaret - "3 pasaporta zotëronte Cana para se të zgjidhte Shqipërinë. Ai kishte në dorë të luante me Zvicrën ose Francën, por zgjodhi të përfaqësonte kombin e tij"
  33. Switzerland football team defeated Albania 3:2, 11 June 2003 EU-football.info
  34. Montenegro football team lost to Albania 0:1, 25 May 2010 EU-football.info
  35. Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina national football teams played to a 1:1 draw, 8 October 2010 EU-football.info
  36. Albania football team lost to France 1:2, 2 September 2011 EU-football.info
  37. France football team defeated Albania 3:0, 7 October 2011 EU-football.info
  38. Rrëfehet Cana: Karrierën e nisa si sulmues aSport.al "Kujtojmë që Cana e mban shiritin e kapitenit që nga koha kur nga kombëtarja u largua Altin Lala dhe Ervin Skela, pra që nga tetori i vitit 2011."
  39. Cana mbret i minutave ... dhe i kartonëve Sporti Shqiptar
  40. FIFA World Cup - StandingsUEFA.com
  41. Team Focus: Not at the World Cup XI WhoScored.com
  42. Portugal football team lost to Albania 0:1, 7 September 2014 EU-football.info
  43. Whitwell, Lori (16 October 2014). "UEFA open proceedings against Serbia and Albania for their abandoned Euro 2016 qualifier... but Serbian FA say incident was a 'planned terrorist attack' on their country". Dailymail. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  44. Lorik Cana: Tifozi serb më kafshoi gishtin indeksonline.net
  45. Bahtiri shpall Xhaken e Canen qytetare nderi te Mitrovices koha.net
  46. Gazeta Tema (23 October 2014). "Folklorizmi shkon deri ne ekstrem". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  47. Tweedale, Alistair; Liew, Jonathan (11 June 2016). "Switerzland down 10-man Albania as Xhaka derby is settled by Fabian Schar header". Telegraph. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  48. "Albania get heroes' welcome upon return after Euro 2016 exit". ESPN. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  49. 1 2 3 Frashëri, Dash. "Lorik Cana në 360 gradë: 24 orët e kapitenit të Marsejës, nga futbolli te librat" (in Albanian). Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  50. UNPD Kosovo. "Cana visits UNDP Kosovo". UNPD. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  51. Cana martohet buzë detit - Yjet - Gazeta Tribuna
  52. Martohet Lorik Cana - NOA
  53. 1 2 "Cana, Lorik". National Football Teams. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  54. "Albania - L. Cana - Profile with news, career statistics and history". Soccerway. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  55. "Lorik Cana". Mackolik.com. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  56. "Football : Lorik Cana". Football Database. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  57. 1 2 "Lorik Cana - national football team player". EU-Football.info. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  58. 1 2 Lorik Cana profile at Soccerway
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lorik Cana.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Habib Beye
Marseille captain
Succeeded by
Mamadou Niang
Preceded by
Dean Whitehead
Sunderland captain
Succeeded by
Lee Cattermole
Preceded by
Altin Lala
Albania captain
Succeeded by
Ansi Agolli
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