Albanians afraid of lightning striking twice with Olympiacos prospect Bullari
We’ve already had the case with Fiorin Durmishaj this year, and if reports from to10.gr are to be believed, another Albanian youth international will also have the option to switch allegiance to Greece.
The situation concerning Panionios striker Durmishaj divided opinion. In the past, Durmishaj represented Albania at youth level, but he possesses Greek citizenship and was called up to the Ethniki Omada for the opening two UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers. Although he didn’t play in either game, Durmishaj has committed his international future to Greece, and the Albanian Football Association is now scared of lightning striking twice.
Emiliano Bullari, an 18-year-old striker on the books of Olympiacos, was born in Greece and holds dual citizenship due to his Albanian heritage. In 2016, Bullari debuted for the under 17 Albanian national team, subsequently scoring one goal in five appearances. Bullari was also included in the Albania U21 squad for matches against Turkey and Andorra in March, however he didn’t play in the two games. The forward, standing 190 centimeters tall, joined the Olympiacos academy in 2015 and has always lived in Greece.
Considering what happened with Durmishaj, the Albanian Football Association is afraid of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) persuading Bullari to play for Greece. In Albania, Bullari is very highly rated, with many coaches seeing the youngster as becoming an important figure for the senior national team in the future. So far, no reports have suggested the EPO is preparing to summon Bullari to the national team set-up, but the Albanians are worried that another prospect will choose Greece instead. Head coach of the under 21 Albanian national team, Alban Bushi, had this to say about Bullari: “He is a great prospect for Albania. Such high level players must be gradually introduced to the first national team.”
This season, Bullari has played in 18 U19 Super League matches for Olympiacos, contributing with five goals. Bullari is most dangerous when playing as the main striker down the middle, and taking into account his height, he is a real threat in the air. If he continues impressing in Piraeus, Bullari may attract serious attention from the EPO, meaning the teenager will consequently be given a hugely important decision to make. His Olympiacos contract runs through to June 2021.