(born November 18
) is an Albanian footballer
, currently playing for German Bundesliga
team Hannover 96
The defensive midfielder
began his football career as a youth at SK Tirana
before moving to Germany with the third flight side Borussia Fulda
in January 1994.
On 21 July 1998
, he joined newly-promoted 2.Bundesliga
team Hannover 96
; making his debut on July 30 1998
, in a 1-0 victory over Karlsruher SC
. Here, he helped the club win the promotion to the Bundesliga
in 2001/2002 and since has played over 149 Bundesliga games, becoming the longest-serving player within their squad. In all his time at Hannover 96
Lala has only scored one bundesliga goal.
In 2004, he became team captain and remained so until the 2007/08 season, being popular both within the team and with fans (who have nicknamed him "The Battle Dwarf" (German: Kampfzwerg
) due to his combative style of play).
In the 2007-2008 season he made 28 league appearances without scoring a goal.
Albania national football team
He has also enjoyed a long international career, making 62 appearances for his country since 1998, the sixth highest in Albania's international history. He has also scored three goals for his country. His first international goal came in March, 2003 in a European Qualifying match agianst Russia
in the 79th minute. The match ended 3-1 for Albania
and became one of Albania
's greatest ever achievments in football. His second goal came just three months later in the 22nd minute of a thrilling 3-2 loss to Switzerland
. Lala has been the captain of his country since Igli Tare
was kicked off the team by former manager Otto Baric