Ray Vella

National team
Malta

Born
11 January 1959

Club
Ħamrun Spartans (1985-92)

Position
Central midfielder (deep lying playmaker)

Profile
Described as "Quiet and serious, on and off the field, Vella was an inspiration to a generation of would-be footballers. He won admiration for his impeccable skills, fair play and humble down-to-earth character. A truly gifted midfielder, he played the role of a schemer-in-chief for Ħamrun Spartans and Malta to perfection."
(Source: timesofmalta.com)

Maltese player of the year 1986-87.

For the 1990 World Cup qualifiers, Ray Vella participated in six of them. He had missed the first game in Belfast through injury, and he would also miss the final match against the Republic of Ireland due to suspension from the yellow card he had picked up away to the Irish, his second of the campaign. Whenever he was not present, he was greatly missed. Ray Vella, the captain of the side in that era, was a very composed player whose mere presence would make sure those around him were inspired. He was held in extremely high regard throughout the Mediterranean island. From his deep central midfield role he would also direct Malta attacks, and he was the single most vital player for the team during these qualifiers, possibly along with forward Carmel Busuttil and sweeper John Buttigieg.