This time last week Maltese Premier League leaders Hibernians were preparing to face Italian giants Fiorentina in the Visit Malta Tournament.

Stefano Pioli’s side had arrived in Malta for a training camp during the Serie A TIM New Year break.

The Gigliati came out on top in the Visit Malta Tournament beating Hibs 6-0 and Gżira 2-0. High profile players such as Luis Muriel and FIFA U20 World Cup winner Jordan Veretout featured for the visiting side.

One player tasked with the job of marking Fiorentina’s front men was Maltese international Andrei Agius.

Speaking about last Wednesday’s match, the defender said: “It was a great experience for sure, and something to add to other experiences such as playing against PSV and Maccabi.

“We take away with us how far we are from top-level football and how hard we need to invest and work in Maltese football to maybe one day reach that.

“I tried to push them as much as possible and feel relaxed and play their game at their highest possible intensity, it’s the only way you can try and compete with such teams.”

(L-R), Steven Bergwijn of PSV, Andrei Agius of Hibernians FC during the International friendly match between Hibernians FC and PSV Eindhoven on January 5, 2016 at the Hibernians stadium in Paola, Malta. (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

The Visit Malta Tournament was arranged with ACF Fiorentina by SLFC from Austria in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Malta Tourism Authority.

Agius has played for a number of Italian clubs throughout his career including A.C.R. Messina and A.S.D. Igea Virtus.

He returned to Malta initially in 2011 during a loan spell with Birkirkara however, the defender signed a permanent deal with Hibernians in 2014 after leaving S.E.F. Torres 1903.

The 32-year-old discussed how important hosting tournaments in Malta with major teams is for the nation’s football sector: “These kind of initiatives are always good both for the football industry and the tourism industry.

“Malta is growing at a fast pace in all sectors, it is about time that the sports industry and especially the football industry in our country draws a real tangible vision for the next five to 10 years where finally we can start achieving results and compete at par level with other countries.”

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