Milot Rashica wasn't all that far off Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe for goals-per-minute in 2019, but what else is there to know about the Werder Bremen forward? bundesliga.com has the skinny…
Club: Werder Bremen
Country: Kosovo (27 caps, four goals)
Rashica got his senior break at hometown club KF Vushtrria in Kosovo. He made his competitive debut at the age of 16, and went on to score nine goals in 21 appearances before earning a move to Holland with Vitesse Arnheim in summer 2015.
Already a 2013/14 Football Superleague of Kosovo winner with Vushtrria, Rashica helped Vitesse claim the Dutch Cup at the end of his second season at the club. When he left for Bremen in January 2018, he had registered a total of 15 goals and 24 assists in 100 appearances on Dutch soil.
Rashica made his Werder bow in a 2-1 win against Schalke on 3 February 2018 and opened his account a month later in a 3-1 victory over Cologne. It was, nevertheless, his eight goals and four assists in 17 league matches during the second half of 2018/19 - his first full campaign in the German top flight - that gave his Bundesliga career lift-off. The 5'8" right-footer missed a chunk of the 2019/20 season with injury, but still managed eight goals and five assists in a Bremen side that only narrowly avoided relegation.
Watch: Rashica, Bremen's NextGen star
On the international circuit, Rashica made a handful of appearances for the Albania's youth sides and also played for their senior team twice in friendlies, before switching allegiance to his native Kosovo in 2016. He made his debut in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw with Finland, and scored his first goal in a UEFA Nations League meeting with the Faroe Islands.
Plays a bit like: Alexis Sanchez
It's not just his ability to play across the front line and ice-cold finishing that Rashica has in common with Arsenal-era Alexis Sanchez. A one-man attacking force with pace to burn, the Bremen talisman has that self-same stocky build and low centre of gravity that made Sanchez such an overwhelming prospect for opposition defenders back in his Barcelona and Arsenal days. He loves a set-piece goal, too.
Did you know?
Rashica, who became a father for the first time in May 2020, ranked in the top five for goals-per-minute of all non-No.9 forwards across Europe's top five leagues in 2019. Only Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe (one goal per 83 mins), Barcelona's Messi (69 mins), PSG's Neymar (109 mins) and Liverpool's Sadio Mane (122 mins) fared better than the Bremen No.7's 15 goals in 29 Bundesliga appearances (one every 145 mins) in the last calendar year.
What they're saying
"He's one of the best players in the Bundesliga!" - Rashica's Bremen teammate, Theo Gebre Selassie
"Milot’s taken a massive leap in the last year or so. He's got more confidence in himself and makes scoring look so easy." - Bremen coach, Florian Kohfeldt