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Stars of UEFA EURO 2016: Albania's Lorik Cana

Having captained Albania to their first major final tournament, rugged defender Lorik Cana has French experience that may pay dividends at UEFA EURO 2016.

Lorik Cana leads the celebrations after Albania's win against Portugal in September 2014
Lorik Cana leads the celebrations after Albania's win against Portugal in September 2014 ©AFP/Getty Images

At a glance
A leader, a reassuring presence and a powerful, intimidating defender, three-time Albanian Player of the Year Cana is getting closer to becoming his nation's first 100-cap footballer. The 32-year-old has played in the top division in England, Turkey and Italy and has made over 200 appearances in Ligue 1, where he currently represents Nantes.

International pedigree
Cana's 89 games for Albania include starts in all eight of their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers; his former Lazio team-mate Etrit Berisha and Taulant Xhaka were the only other players selected so regularly. As Albania make their debut major finals appearance, his first-hand knowledge of football in top leagues will be a huge help for his team-mates – and plenty of opponents will know to be wary of the tough-tackling defender.

What he offers

Albania’s EURO star: Lorik Cana

Importance for Albania
Cana has filled the defensive gap left by former Eagles captain Besnik Hasi's retirement in 2007, and he knows France well – having started out as a holding midfielder at Paris Saint-Germain and captained Olympique de Marseille. "It will be sweet," he said after discovering that Albania would take on the UEFA EURO 2016 hosts at the Stade Vélodrome.

International career
Debut: Switzerland 3-2 Albania, 11 June 2003 (EURO qualifier)
Appearances: 89
Goals: 1

EURO final tournament (Albania record)
Appearances: 0 (0)
Goals: 0 (0)