Ezgjan Alioski (Macedonian: Езѓан Алиоски; born 12 February 1992) is a Macedonian professional footballer who plays as a winger or wing-back for Premier League club Leeds United and the North Macedonia national team. He is commonly known as 'Gjanni'.
Alioski playing for Macedonia in 2014
|Full name||Ezgjan Alioski|
|Date of birth||12 February 1992|
|Place of birth||Prilep, Macedonia|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|2010–2013||Young Boys U23||57||(4)|
|2015–2016||→ Lugano (loan)||16||(3)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 May 2021|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17 June 2021
Having joined their youth academy in 2003, Alioski began his career as a left-back in the second team of Young Boys from 2010 to 2013, where he scored four goals in 57 matches. In January 2013, he went to Schaffhausen on loan, before joining on a permanent transfer in October 2013, scoring four goals in 77 matches.
He joined Lugano on loan in January 2016, and made his debut on 13 February in a 2–1 loss against Thun. Despite signing him as a left back, then Lugano manager Zdeněk Zeman converted Alioski into an attacking right winger and striker towards the end of the 2015–16 season. He scored his first goal for the club on 11 May 2016 in a 4–0 win to Zürich.
In June 2016, his move was made permanent. New manager Andrea Manzo continued to play Alioski in the attacking roles once the season started. He scored his first goal of the campaign in his second game on 30 July 2016, in a 2–1 win over Young Boys. He scored seven goals in his first ten games at the club. On 19 April 2017, Alioski scored a hat-trick for Lugano in a 4–2 victory against Sion.
He continued to impress during his first season and helped guide Lugano to a third-place finish in the Swiss Super League. He scored 16 goals in 34 games for Lugano and was the third top goalscorer in the league in the 2016–17 season, behind Seydou Doumbia (20) and Guillaume Hoarau (18). He was also the third highest in the division in terms of his assists, after making 14 in his 34 games, behind Yoric Ravet (17) and Matteo Tosetti (15).
Alioski has been a part of Leeds United's return to the Premier League in 2019–20 after a sixteen year wait, notwithstanding three seasons played in the second tier of English football. He scored important goals in the 2019–20 season.
Alioski joined English club Leeds United on 13 July 2017. On 6 August 2017, he made his debut in a 3–2 victory against Bolton Wanderers and created the assist for teammate Chris Wood's goal. After gaining another assist, he received the man of the match award over Sunderland in a 2–0 win on 19 August. On 26 August, Alioski received the man of the match award and scored his first goal for Leeds in a 2–0 victory to Nottingham Forest. On 15 September, Alioski won the Championship Goal of the Month Award for August for his goal against Nottingham Forest. In November 2017, Alioski scored in all of Leeds United's four games, and was awarded with the club's award for Player of the Month.
On 16 April 2018, Alioski was nominated as one of four players for Leeds United's Player of The Year award. On 21 April, Alioski scored the winner with his seventh goal of the season in a 2–1 victory for Leeds in the Yorkshire derby against Barnsley. He ended the season with seven goals and five assists.
He scored his first goal of the 2018–19 season with a goal on 11 August in a 4–1 victory of Derby County.
Alioski started the season for Leeds as a winger playing on the right or left side, but after an injury to regular left-back Barry Douglas in 2019, Alioski was praised for his form playing at left-back, with his form keeping a returning Douglas out of the side. He continued to thrive in this wing-back position throughout 2019, producing marauding runs up the left flank and scoring against Stoke City, Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion to bring his Championship tally for 2018–19 to seven, until, on 22 April, in Leeds' 2–0 defeat at Brentford, Alioski was substituted after twelve minutes with a torn meniscus and missed the remainder of the season, including play-offs.
During the 2018–19 season, Alioski played 47 games in all competitions, netting seven goals, after Leeds finished the regular season in third place after dropping out of the automatic promotion places with three games left following a loss to Wigan Athletic on 19 April. Leeds United qualified for the play-offs versus sixth-placed Derby County, with Alioski's season already ended by injury. Leeds won the first leg of the play-offs in a 1–0 win at Pride Park to bring into a 1–0 aggregate lead into the home leg at Elland Road. However, they lost the second leg 2–4, with Gaetano Berardi being sent off. This setback resulted in Leeds losing 4–3 on aggregate.
On 24 August, Alioski scored his first goal of the 2019–20 season in a 3–0 win over Stoke City. After the English professional football season was paused in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was resumed during June, where Alioski earned promotion with Leeds to the Premier League and also become the EFL Championship winners for the 2019–20 season in July following a successful resumption of the season. Alioski played an important part in the promotion, scoring important goals and changing games.
Alioski played his first Premier League game on 19 September 2020, when he came on as a 70th minute substitute for Patrick Bamford in the team's 4–3 home win over Fulham. Three days earlier, Alioski had been in the starting line-up, scoring the only goal — in added time — in Leeds's 1–1 League Cup second round tie with Hull City (Hull went on to win 9–8 on penalties with Alioski missing his spot kick). He made his first Premier League start on 5 October 2020 against Manchester City, coming into the first eleven in place of Jack Harrison, who was ineligible to play against his parent club. On 16 December 2020, He scored his first Premier League goal in the 5–2 home win against Newcastle United. Alioski scored his final goal of 2020 in a 5–0 away win over West Bromwich Albion. In March 2021, Alioski was strongly linked to a move to Turkish side Galatasaray, causing an uproar from Leeds supporters.
Eligible to represent Macedonia and Albania due to his Albanian heritage, Alioski decided to represent the country of his birth, Macedonia. After representing Macedonia at various youth levels, he made his debut for the senior side in 2013.
He scored his first international goal against Albania on 5 September 2016 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match. He mainly played for his national side in a left wing-back position, before being converted to a more attacking midfield position.
In May 2021, Alioski was selected in the final 26-man squad to represent North Macedonia at the postponed UEFA Euro 2020, marking the country's first appearance at a major tournament. During North Macedonia's opening fixture of the tournament against Austria, immediatedly after striker Marko Arnautović (who is half-Serbian) scored, Arnautović angrily shouted towards Alioski and teammate Egzon Bejtulai–both of Albanian descent–what were believed to be anti-Albanian slurs. Football Federation of Macedonia released a statement calling for action by UEFA.
Alioski is Muslim. He can speak German, Italian, English, Albanian, Macedonian, Spanish and French.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Schaffhausen||2013–14||Swiss Challenge League||26||2||1||0||—||—||—||27||2|
|2014–15||Swiss Challenge League||35||2||1||0||—||—||—||36||2|
|2015–16||Swiss Challenge League||16||0||1||0||—||—||—||17||0|
|Lugano||2015–16||Swiss Super League||16||3||2||0||—||—||—||18||3|
|2016–17||Swiss Super League||34||16||1||0||—||—||—||35||16|
- North Macedonia was known as Macedonia until 2019
- As of match played 17 June 2021. North Macedonia score listed first, score column indicates score after each Alioski goal.
|1||5 September 2016||Loro Boriçi Stadium, Shkodër, Albania||7||Albania||1–1||1–2||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2||6 September 2018||Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar||21||Gibraltar||2–0||2–0||2018–19 UEFA Nations League D|
|3||9 September 2018||Philip II Arena, Skopje, Macedonia||22||Armenia||1–0||2–0|
|4||13 October 2018||23||Liechtenstein||4–1||4–1|
|5||21 March 2019||Philip II Arena, Skopje, North Macedonia||26||Latvia||1–0||3–1||UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying|
|6||5 September 2020||Toše Proeski Arena, Skopje, North Macedonia||34||Armenia||1–0||2–1||2020–21 UEFA Nations League C|
|7||14 October 2020||38||Georgia||1–1||1–1|
|8||4 June 2021||44||Kazakhstan||1–0||4–0||Friendly|
|9||17 June 2021||Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania||46||Ukraine||1–2||1–2||UEFA Euro 2020|
- "Club list of registered players: As at 19 May 2018: Leeds United" (PDF). English Football League. p. 21. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
- Ezgjan Alioski at Soccerway. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
- "Alioski non ha dimenticato Lugano". RSI Sport (in Italian). 27 March 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Ezgjan Alioski – Der Phönix aus Schaffhausen". Swiss Football League. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
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- Brütsch, Markus (8 May 2017). "Ezgjan Alioski: Vom Challenge-League-Verteidiger zum Super-League-Goalgetter". Aargauer Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Der FC Lugano stürzt den FCZ ins Elend". Der Bund (in German). 11 May 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Classement des buteurs – 2016/17". Swiss Football League (in French). Retrieved 22 March 2020.
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- "Alioski becomes number nine". Leeds United. 13 July 2017.
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- "Sunderland 0–2 Leeds recap". Sky Sports. 19 August 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- "Nottingham Forest 0–2 Leeds: Kemar Roofe and Ezgjan Alioski seal win". Sky Sports. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- "Winger Alioski nets August Goal of the Month award". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- "Louis Erard: Ezgjan Alioski named Player of the Month". www.leedsunited.com. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- "Cast your vote for the Player of the Year awards". www.leedsunited.com. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
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- "Gjanni Alioski relishing familiar full-back role under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United". Yorkshire Evening Post. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
- "Ezgjan Alioski: Leeds United winger to miss rest of the season". BBC Sport. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- "Leeds 1 Wigan 2". BBC Sport. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
- "Leeds United 2–4 Derby County (Derby win 4–3 on agg)". BBC Sport. 15 May 2019.
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- "Leeds v Newcastle, 2020/21 | Premier League". www.premierleague.com. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
- "Tougher job than we thought - Allardyce". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- 161385360554578 (24 March 2021). "Alioski defended amid Leeds fans' fury over Galatasaray transfer links". talkSPORT. Retrieved 7 June 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Alioski, Ezgjan (6 September 2016). "Alioski – Intervista pas ndeshjes – shenuesin e golit per maqedonasin" (Interview). Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH). Retrieved 21 October 2019 – via Youtube.
- "Gibraltar 0 Macedonia 2". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- "Macedonia 2 Armenia 0". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
- "Игор Ангеловски го објави списокот за ЕУРО 2020". ffm.mk. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
- "North Macedonia call on Uefa to investigate Marko Arnautović remarks". The Guardian. 14 June 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
- "I'm not a racist, says Arnautović". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
- Post, Pillar 2 (17 October 2020). "Muslim Footballers in the Premier League 2020/21 Season". Mysite. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
- "Leeds United's Gjanni Alioski reveals why he shakes tunnels, pays touching tribute to Marcelo Bielsa and city of Leeds". www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
- "Alioski, Ezgjan". National Football Teams. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Games played by Ezgjan Alioski in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- "Games played by Ezgjan Alioski in 2016/2017". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- "Games played by Ezgjan Alioski in 2017/2018". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- "Games played by Ezgjan Alioski in 2018/2019". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- "Games played by Ezgjan Alioski in 2019/2020". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
- "Games played by Ezgjan Alioski in 2020/2021". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
- "Ezgjan Alioski". European Football. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Leeds United are champions!". Leeds United F.C. 18 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.