Happy Birthday Enea!
Our defender Enea Mihaj turns 24 today, and PAOK FC would like to wish him many years of health, happiness and successes on both a personal and professional level.
A footballer’s life is often full of travel. And even though he is still only 21, Enea Mihaj has already experienced his fair share of traveling. Born in Albania on July 5 1998, he lived in Thessaoniki for a while, and then moved to Rhodes, where he took his first steps into the world of football and then ended up in Agrinio.
Panaitolikos had been keeping tabs on him while he was still playing in Diagoras‘ youth academies. The Agrinio club invited him for a trial and after that it was an easy decision for them to sign him. The Mihaj family didn’t dwell on it and told Enea to go and chase his dreams.
His appearances with the youth teams of Panaitolikos prompted the first-team coaches to elevate him to train with the senior side and gradually prepare him for top-level football.
After several appearances for the first team, he made his full debut on January 11, 2017 . The opponents? PAOK of course. Mihaj came on as a sub in the final moments of a Greek Cup tie.
In the 2016-17 season his chances of playing time were limited, but in the following season we earned himself a place in the starting XI and never looked back. He made 29 appearances, many of them exceptional, and he was already being talked about as being one of the league’s most promising center-backs.
Unfortunately, the 2018-19 season saw the unlucky Mihaj dealing with a serious injury which kept him out of action for several months, but he still managed 19 appearances in both league and cup games.
In parallel, Mihaj also most made two appearances for the Albania Under-21 side, having previous also played for the Under-19’s. In the autumn of 2018 he also earned his first call-up to the full Albania squad and made his debut in a UEFA Nations League match against Scotland.
There were plenty of European clubs monitoring his progress with interest, but PAOK beat off stiff competition for his signature to bring him to Thessaloniki in June 2019.
Since then, Mihaj has worn the Double-headed Eagle jersey 34 times, scoring once and providing two assists. His numbers would clearly have been higher, but unfortunately he missed most of the 2020-21 season due to a serious knee injury. However, being a fighter, he overcame all the difficulties and rehab to return and even played in the final few games of the season, celebrating the conquest of the Greek Cup, the first honour of his professional career, while last season he was consistently used in Razvan Lucescu’s rotation system.
Happy Birthday Enea!