Vedat Muriqi reflected on his time with Lazio, the difficulties he faced and the happiness he found at RCD Mallorca.
The Kosovan forward joined the Biancocelesti in September 2020 from Fenerbahce in a deal worth around €20m. Much was expected of Muriqi but he failed to deliver in the Italian capital, only scoring two goals in 49 appearances across all competitions for Lazio. He was sent to Mallorca on loan in January of this year and made the move permanent in the summer for €7.7m.
Speaking to TMW (via LazioNews24), Muriqi first discussed his initial move to Lazio, why he joined the club and what went wrong.
When I was in Italy I went through difficult times. In Turkey things were going well, then I received the call from Lazio and I wasn’t sure about making that decision. In Turkey people loved me and I scored a lot of goals. But I had to try that experience.
Lazio are one of the best clubs in Italy and were also in the Champions League at the time. I decided to leave, but I got injured and things didn’t start well. I came back and scored two goals, but they didn’t give me a chance to play.
When I was sick I also played 45 minutes, when I was well they didn’t give me the chance to play. They were two very difficult years.
He reflected on the various relationships he formed with the Lazio squad and the emotional toll of his negative time in Italy.
I got on very well with my teammates, I still have many I speak to often such as Milinkovic-Savic, Marusic and Pepe Reina. These guys have helped me a lot. I had the misfortune to have only played when I wasn’t well.
The coach didn’t like me and the fans didn’t like me either. But it’s still football. When I went home I wasn’t happy, I came back angry and sad. It was a very difficult situation for me, then everything changed when I left for Mallorca in January.
Finally, Muriqi highlighted the personal importance of his move to Mallorca and what he rediscovered at the Spanish club.
In those two years I talked a lot with my wife, who is stronger than me. She told me that I had to be strong, that I had to be ready to seize the opportunity. After training I started to work with a fitness trainer and in two months I recovered my form. Mental too.
I was just waiting for my moment, but it never came. There were days when I was fine and I thought I would soon be back to the top like at Fenerbahce. Then I felt like sh*t. I thought football was over for me.
I was very negative and critical of myself. Then the choice to go to Mallorca changed my life. I didn’t expect to become an idol here but from the beginning I felt a great affection around me.
I was coming from a complicated year and a half and Mallorca needed my goals. When we started negotiating for a long contract, I immediately noticed the support of the fans and that surprised me.
Since arriving at Mallorca in January, the 28-year-old Muriqi has scored 13 goals and provided four assists in 29 appearances for the club, playing a key role in their La Liga survival last season.