Born on this day is former Albanian international Lorik Cana. Despite his main position being centre back, the versatile defender was often deployed in midfield when playing for Sunderland.
Cana joined the Black Cats from France, after impressing with both Paris Saint-Germain and then Marseille. He quickly gained a reputation for being a no-nonsense player who was fully committed to Steve Bruce’s side.
His first match was against Bolton, where he impressed in a 1-0 win over Wanderers. In the process, he became the first Albanian to play in the Premier League. Despite only making his debut in August, he was appointed captain in September. Cana became a fan favourite due to his passion and aggression all over the pitch.
The Albanian loved a booking, picking up 11 yellow cards in all competitions in 35 appearances! At the end of the season, he made a surprise move to Turkey, joining Galatasaray under Frank Rijkaard. He again won the hearts of fans due to his hard-working attitude and versatility, although he was hampered by niggling injuries.
He then had a spell at Lazio before returning to France, signing for Nantes in 2015. He retired a year later, having captained his country at Euro 2016. In typical Cana fashion, he was the first player of the tournament to be sent off, receiving two bookings in the first half of their opening match.