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'Lubin Maradona' aims high

Published: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 12.44CET
After hitting seven goals in as many games this spring, Zagłębie Lubin's Bulgarian striker Iliyan Micanski is desperate to finish the season as top scorer in the Polish First Division.
by Piotr Koźmiński
from Warsaw
'Lubin Maradona' aims high
Iliyan Micanski has been the sensation of the spring in Poland ©Dariusz Hermiersz/sport-foto
Published: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 12.44CET

'Lubin Maradona' aims high

After hitting seven goals in as many games this spring, Zagłębie Lubin's Bulgarian striker Iliyan Micanski is desperate to finish the season as top scorer in the Polish First Division.

Striker Iliyan Micanski has revealed his double ambition to UEFA.com – to finish as top scorer in Poland and win a call-up to the Bulgaria squad – after scoring seven goals in as many games for Zagłębie Lubin.

The 24-year-old has registered seven of his ten top-flight goals this season during Zagłębie's seven-match unbeaten run this spring. And just as Zagłębie have left behind winter relegation worries to climb to seventh in the table, so Micanski is scaling the Ekstraklasa goalscoring chart. He is now three strikes short of the leader, Lech Poznań's Robert Lewandowski.

Indeed, his Maradona-like 60m run and finish against KSP Polonia Warszawa on 20 March is a contender for First Division goal of the season. It also took him a step closer to Lewandowski. "I top-scored in the Bulgarian second division and did the same in Poland last season," he said. "I can still make it, because three goals is not a big gap. It is the difference of one very good match."

Catching Lewandowski is no small target. The 21-year-old is Polish football's golden boy, though currently Micanski has the edge, having won March's player of the month poll with a record 19 votes out of 32 – partly for his goal against Polonia. "I knew straight away it was a bit special, but when I saw it on the internet a few hours later I was shocked," he told UEFA.com. "It looked fantastic."

So good that Micanski went on to watch the footage of "the goal of my life" some "20 or 30 times" – and his team-mates dubbed him "the Lubin Maradona". Yet while his fame spreads in Poland, it would mean even more to gain recognition back home. Micanski has not played in Bulgaria since leaving PFC Pirin Blagoevgrad in 2005.

"I would like to play for Bulgaria," he said. "It is not like we have lots of players in the best leagues, which would make it impossible. I don't see why they shouldn't give me a chance. To play alongside Dimitar Berbatov would be my biggest football dream. Actually, it is not dream, it is my goal."

However, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFS) should know that it may take special treatment to get the best out of Micanski – Zagłębie president Jerzy Koziński has festooned the forward with gifts for each of his goals. "Once I got nice tie, another time a pillow so I could sleep well before the next match, then a funny cap and also a big cake which was shared among the team," explained Micanski, Lubin's gift that keeps on giving.

Last updated: 13/04/10 17.46CET

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