EZGJAN ALIOSKI has revealed how he overcame rejection and poverty to help Leeds into the Premier League.
The North Macedonia international made 41 appearances, scoring five goals, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side won the Championship title.
But Alioski, 28, considered quitting football after being dumped by Swiss club YB Berne in 2013.
The winger recalled: “I’ve thought back on being without a club. It’s incredible that I will be in the Premier League next season.
“Berne told me I wasn’t good enough for professional football – after I’d spent 10 years in their academy.
“I was very sad and disappointed. Most people would have chosen to do something else, but I refused to be talked out of my dream.
“I trained with my dad and brother, and luckily FC Schaffhausen – then in the Swiss third division – gave me a chance.
“I wasn’t able to live on what the club paid me. My parents had to support me.
“They rented a small flat in Schaffhausen for me, and got me a little car so I could go to and from training.
“You can’t describe what Marcelo Bielsa is like. You have to meet him in person, and there are few others like him.
“He’ll tell you private stuff and general things, and you’ll end up hyper-motivated by him.
“Against Derby there was no longer anything at stake, yet every player ran record distances. That is the Bielsa effect.
“We learn new things from him every time. I feel like I’ve won the lottery in joining Leeds.
“It is a great club, with crazy fans. We all dreamed about winning promotion – and now that dream has come true.
“You can’t stop the Leeds fans. They are still celebrating, and they’ll probably party again when we play our first Premier League game.”