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Raio Piiroja

Published: Wednesday 31 August 2011, 14.41CET

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Published: Wednesday 31 August 2011, 14.41CET

Raio Piiroja

Clubs: Pärnu JK, Lelle SK, FC Flora Tallinn, Vålerenga Fotball, Fredrikstad FK, Vitesse

• Born in Parnu in 1979, Piiroja began his career in his native city before joining Flora Tallinn where he made more than a century of Estonian league appearances between 1999 and 2004.

• He joined Norwegian side Vålerenga on loan in 2003 and then signed a permanent contract with their domestic rivals Fredrikstad the following year. In the 2006 campaign, he scored two goals in the Norwegian Cup final as Fredrikstad won 3-0 against Sandefjord Fotball. By the end of 2010 he had played 144 league games for Fredrikstad.

• Piiroja has been capped 104 times by Estonia, scoring 8 goals*. He made his 100th outing in the 2–0 friendly victory over Uruguay on 25 March 2011.

• The experienced centre-back has been named Estonia's footballer of the year five times – in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He also landed two national championships with Flora and was a Norway Premier Division runner-up in 2008.

• As captain of the national squad, he is a central figure for his country – a source of motivation to team-mates as well as a vital aerial presence in the back line.

• A keen amateur fisherman, Piiroja met his wife Marje at a sports training complex – she is a former skier.

*As of 1 September 2011.

Last updated: 06/12/13 9.50CET

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