Kristian Laferla – a Valletta mainstay
Kristian Laferla is one of the most prominent Maltese players of the modern era.
An attacking midfielder, he left his mark on the local game with his intelligent play, leadership on the field and, most importantly, his professionalism.
Born on March 23, 1967 he started his career in 1983 with Luxol St Andrew’s in the Third Division. Although still 16 years old, he immediately claimed a place in the first team and his obvious potential was already attracting the attention of the Premier League clubs.
Valletta were the first to make an approach for Laferla and at the start of the 1985-86 season he joined the City club on loan.
Laferla had quite a good season with Valletta. In 1986-87, he returned to St Andrew’s but after playing three games in the Third Division, he returned to Valletta on a permanent basis. He settled immediately in his new surroundings and after a short while, became one of the mainstays of the City team.
The nineties were arguably the greatest period in the history of Valletta FC.
Their domination of Maltese football was so complete that they matched and even eclipsed the achievements of the traditional leaders of Maltese football, Sliema and Floriana.
During his stay with the club, captain Laferla won an incredible total of 25 major honours and only injuries prevented him from winning a handful of others.
This record makes him one of the most decorated players in the local game.
Laferla, however, had one big disappointment in his career... for some reason or another, he never won the MFA Footballer of the Year award.
This prestigious individual award depends, to some extent, on circumstances which have nothing to do with the performances of the players concerned. Luck is also a factor.
Sometimes it happens that a player enjoys his best season at a time when competition for the award is very intense. On the other hand, a player can also land the honour despite not achieving excellence simply because the level of performances that season was generally below standard.
Laferla played his first game for Malta on November 14, 1986 in the European Championship against Sweden. He played his last game against Latvia in 1998.
In between, he made 65 appearances for his country and scored six goals. This is a significant total for a midfielder especially for a small nation like Malta where positive results are rare.
During the Christmas period of 2002, Laferla was transferred to Sliema Wanderers. This certainly came as a surprise for the City faithful.
After 17 eventful seasons, Laferla had become very much part of the City set-up and it was hard to imagine the team without him.
Time was very kind and gentle with Laferla. Despite being well in his 30s, he remained fit and although at that age he should have been thinking of retirement, he still contributed significantly to the Blues’ successes.
By the time he had decided to retire, Laferla had already carved a niche for himself as one of the great players of Maltese football.