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Italy v North Macedonia

Who is Aleksandar Trajkovski? The ex-Chelsea trialist who ended Italy's World Cup dream with North Macedonia winner

23:41 WAT 24/03/2022
Aleksandar Trajkovski
The forward silenced supporters in his old home to leave his nation just one game from their first ever World Cup

Aleksandar Trajkovski made history for North Macedonia on Thursday as his late goal sealed a famous World Cup play-off victory over Euro 2020 winners Italy.

The visitors started the game as rank outsiders in the Stadio Renzo Barbera, and spent most of the 90 minutes mounting a spirited rearguard as Italy pushed forward in search of a winner.

But it was Trajkovski, who is more familiar than most with Palermo's home ground in Sicily, who popped up in the dying seconds to break Italian hearts and set up a decider against Portugal.

Who is Trajkovski?

At 29 years old, Trajkovski is one of North Macedonia's biggest football stars.

With 20 goals in 75 international appearance he ranks second behind Goran Pandev in the country's all-time top scoring ranks, with four of those coming in their latest World Cup qualification campaign to help them grab second place in Group J behind Germany and progress to the play-offs for the first time.

Where has the forward played?

As a teenager Trajkovski enjoyed a trial with Chelsea, and helped the Blues' youth side to a win in the 2010 Copa Amsterdam with a late goal against Brazil's Botafogo.

He went on to spend time in Croatia and Belgium before becoming a favourite with Palermo.

The forward spent a total of four seasons in Sicily, before leaving in 2019 along with the rest of the club's professional squad when they were excluded from the league system due to serious financial irregularities.

A stint in Spain with Mallorca followed and he is now playing for Al Fayha in Saudi Arabia.

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