Michael Mifsud (born 17 April 1981) is a Maltese professional footballer who currently plays as a forward for Maltese Premier League side Birkirkara. He is the captain of the Maltese national team. He was voted Maltese Sports Person of the Year in 2001 and 2003.
Michael Mifsud at Melbourne Heart's Family Day in 2013
|Full name||Michael Mifsud|
|Date of birth||17 April 1981|
|Place of birth||Pietà, Malta|
|Height||5 ft 4.5 in (1.64 m)|
|2001–2004||1. FC Kaiserslautern||21||(2)|
|2001–2004||→ 1. FC Kaiserslautern II||50||(21)|
|2009||→ Barnsley (loan)||15||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 25 August 2018|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 8 September 2018
Born in Pietà, Mifsud is a youth product of Sliema Wanderers. He made his debut during the 1997–98 season. In his first season, Mifsud made six appearances and scored once, helping Sliema Wanderers to a third-place finish in the Maltese Premier League.
The 1998–99 season saw Mifsud make the breakthrough and become a first-team regular. He was quickly becoming one of the hottest properties in Maltese football. He made 23 appearances and scored eight goals, as Sliema Wanderers again recorded a third-place finish in the Maltese Premier League.
Mifsud's form the previous season led to a trial with English giants Manchester United in July 1999. However, the trial did not lead to a permanent move and Mifsud returned to Sliema Wanderers for the 1999–2000 season. The failure to secure the move to Manchester United did not affect Mifsud, who was in fine goalscoring form for Sliema Wanderers, netting 21 times in 28 outings. The club finished in fourth position in the Maltese Premier League that season.
With interest in Mifsud growing, the 2000–01 season proved to be his last with the club. Mifsud helped the club to a second-place finish in the Maltese Premier League, making 25 appearances and scoring an impressive 20 goals.
His form earned him his first call-up to the national team, and this alerted the Bundesliga club Kaiserslautern to his potential and he signed for the club in the summer of 2001. He was a regular scorer with the B team in the Regionalliga which was the third league in Germany back then, he also made some appearances for the senior team in the Bundesliga, scoring two goals.
Sliema Wanderers (second spell)Edit
Mifsud failed to make the grade with Kaiserslautern A team and his wish for regular first-team football meant he was released in the winter of 2004. He re-signed for Sliema Wanderers for the remainder of the 2004–05 season. Mifsud went on to make 12 appearances and score eight goals, helping Sliema Wanderers to retain the Maltese Premier League title.
In the summer of 2005, he was snapped up by Norwegian Premier League club Lillestrøm, where he was at one stage voted the best foreign player in the league. He was the club's top scorer in the 2006 season with 11 goals in 19 appearances.
On 5 November 2006, the last day of the Norwegian League, he declared that he had set his heart on a move to one of the top European leagues. The previous summer, Lillestrøm had turned down an offer for Mifsud from English club Coventry City despite knowing that the striker would be able to move for free in January 2007 as his contract was due to run out at the end of December.
He declined to renew his contract with Lillestrøm to fulfil his wish to turn out for a club in a major European league.
Mifsud was spotted by the ex-manager of Coventry City, Micky Adams, as he was looking for new strikers in Norway. On 10 January 2007, Mifsud signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Coventry City in the Football League Championship in England. However, Adams was sacked two days later. Mifsud made his début for Coventry City on 13 January 2007 in a Football League Championship match at home to Crystal Palace.
Mifsud scored his first goal for Coventry City on 22 January 2007, after coming on as a substitute in an away game against Plymouth Argyle. He then scored his second goal for Coventry in 4–1 defeat of Barnsley. He also scored at Turf Moor on 6 May 2007 against Burnley. During another impressive display, he scored a goal against Sheffield Wednesday and won the goal of the season for Coventry City.
In the third round of the 2007–08 League Cup, on 26 September 2007, Mifsud scored two goals to give Coventry City an unexpected 2–0 victory over Premier League champions, Manchester United, his boyhood team, at Old Trafford. La Gazzetta dello Sport nicknamed him as Il Messi Di Malta after the match.
After this success, Mifsud continued to excel. He was instrumental in Coventry City's draw with Charlton Athletic on 29 September 2007, scoring his third goal in two games. On 2 October 2007, Coventry City secured a 3–1 league win against Blackpool, the second goal again coming from Mifsud. In this same match, Mifsud was fouled in the box and the resultant penalty was scored by Coventry City's Michael Doyle. Furthermore, Blackpool's Kaspars Gorkšs was shown the red card for a foul on Dele Adebola, after a Mifsud through ball.
On 12 November, Mifsud was sent off after 11 minutes of a Midlands derby against West Bromwich Albion, after elbowing Carl Hoefkens in the face. Mifsud later apologised for the elbow on Hoefkens. On 4 December, Mifsud returned from his three-match ban to face West Bromwich Albion again. Mifsud scored two goals and increasing his tally to 15 goals for the season with the Sky Blues.
On 5 January 2008, Mifsud scored two goals in the FA Cup in Coventry City's defeat of Premier League Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. For his performance, Mifsud was named as the player of the third round by visitors to the Football Association's website, for which he was made a guest of the FA at the 2008 FA Cup Final. On 26 January, Mifsud scored Coventry's second goal in their FA Cup fourth round win against Millwall.
On 23 April 2008, Mifsud was named as the runner-up for the Coventry City player of the year award by the clubs' fans. The winner was Jay Tabb, who scored 84% of the votes. However, Mifsud got most of the remaining 16%.
On 23 July 2008, Coventry City accepted an undisclosed bid for Mifsud from Bristol City. On 29 July 2008, Bristol City announced that, following negotiations, in which manager Gary Johnson questioned Mifsud's commitment, they would not be proceeding with his signing. After a string of good performances, Mifsud eventually worked his way back into the Coventry City side. Mifsud failed to hit the back of the net regularly during his last season, as he was mostly played as a winger. On 30 June 2009, Mifsud's Coventry City contract expired and he was subsequently released after becoming surplus to requirements by manager Chris Coleman.
Mifsud joined Barnsley on loan until the end of the season on 2 February 2009 on the same day as Andranik Teymourian and Adam Hammill joining fellow Malta teammate Daniel Bogdanovic at Oakwell. On 10 March 2009, Mifsud scored his first goal for his new club in a 1–1 draw at Oakwell against Birmingham City. Mifsud scored his second goal for Barnsley on 18 March 2009, scoring the third goal in a 3–1 win against Crystal Palace.
Career in Malta (2009–13)Edit
Valletta (first spell)Edit
Mifsud remained a free agent for the last half of 2009 and the start of 2010, even though he was still an automatic choice for the national team. He finally joined Maltese club Valletta until the end of the 2009–10 season.
He made his debut for Valletta on 19 March 2010, against Qormi leaving his mark in the Citizens' 3–0 win. Mifsud scored the third goal with a placed first timer. He failed to score in what would prove to be the decisive game against Birkirkara in the following round, but then scored consecutive hat-tricks against Tarxien Rainbows in the league and against fierce rivals Floriana in the 100 Anniversary Cup Final. He scored a goal in each of the following three Premier Division games, before again failing to score against Birkirkara. He finished the season with seven goals in seven Premier Division games, two goals in three MFA Trophy games, four goals in two MFA Anniversary Cup games – a total of 13 goals in 12 games.
After his brief stint with Valletta at the end of the 2009–10 season, Mifsud once again became a free agent. There was speculation that he wanted to resume his career in England or another country. Mifsud reportedly received interest from Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer in America, Benfica, from various clubs in the Italian Serie B and was even offered a contract by AEK Larnaca, besides being linked with a possible return to Valletta.
Mifsud was to sign with Floriana on 30 January 2010. This move did not materialise and led to the resignation of Floriana's president, Johann Said. However, the player finally reached an agreement with Qormi with whom he played until the end of the Maltese football season. Mifsud debuted for Qormi with a hat trick and a man of the match performance against Birkirkara. The match finished 4–1 for Qormi. The following round saw him failing to score in Qormi's 2–2 draw against Marsaxlokk, a result that meant Qormi would have to play in the relegation pool.
Valletta (second spell)Edit
On 5 July 2011, after much speculation about his future, Mifsud signed for Valletta, penning a four-year contract. He won the 2011–2012 season of the Maltese Premier League with Valletta, scoring 12 goals in 24 appearances. Included in this was a strike in Valletta's 3–0 defeat of former club Sliema Wanderers on 29 April, to secure his side's 21st national championship. On 3 July 2012, he scored four goals in an 8–0 defeat of Lusitanos in the first qualifying round of the Champions League.
Mifsud left the club in June 2013 to seek a move abroad.
On 18 September 2013, it was reported that Mifsud had signed for A-League club Melbourne Heart on a one-year deal. Mifsud scored his first goal for the club in round 10 against Sydney FC in a 2–1 loss. Melbourne Heart released Mifsud on 21 March 2014, allowing him to return home to Malta with his family.
Career in Malta (2014–present)Edit
On 15 June 2014, Mifsud signed for Sliema Wanderers for the third time. On 22 November 2014, Mifsud re-opened his scoring account with Sliema Wanderers with a 63rd-minute goal against Tarxien at Victor Tedesco Stadium.
He is considered as one of the most prominent players Malta has ever produced. He was instrumental in Malta's victory against Hungary in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, the country's first competitive home victory since 1982.
On 27 March 2008, Mifsud scored five goals for Malta in a 7–1 friendly win over Liechtenstein, completing a hat-trick within just 21 minutes of the kickoff. On 3 March 2010, he surpassed Carmel Busuttil's goalscoring record with the national team, as Mifsud hit the back of the net for Malta in an exhibition match against Finland, which finished in a 1–2 loss for the locals. Mifsud also scored the winning goal (1–0) in Malta's first away win in a World Cup qualifier in many years, against Armenia, on 7 June 2013.
On 11 October 2013, Mifsud gained his 100th cap for Malta, in a match against the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic won 4–1, with Mifsud scoring Malta's only goal.
- Score and Result lists Malta's goal first. Updated 7 September 2018.
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- "NEWS: Sky Blues trio released". ccfc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009.
- "Mifsud To Play With Fire? – Coventry City FC – Coventry MAD". Coventrycity-mad.co.uk. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20110908041539/http://www.vallettafc.net/squad/340.html. Archived from the original on 8 September 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011. Missing or empty
- "Valletta retain Maltese crown". UEFA.com. 29 April 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Valletta 8-0 Lusitanos". ESPN Soccernet. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Magical Mifsud helps Valletta overpower Lusitans". UEFA.com. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Michael Mifsud is a free agent, parts ways with Valletta". tvm.com.mt. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Mifsud joins Melbourne Heart FC". footballaustralia.com.au. 18 September 2013. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Davutovic, David (18 December 2013). "Melbourne Heart striker Michael Mifsud urges his team to switch on early in matches". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- "Williams Re-Signs with Melbourne Heart FC". footballaustralia.com.au. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- "Michael Mifsud completes Valletta move". timesofmalta.com. 20 January 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Malta beat Liechtenstein 7–1". timesofmalta.com. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Michael Mifsud - International Appearances". RSSSF. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- Michael Mifsud at Soccerway. Retrieved 28 September 2014.