Granit Xhaka

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Granit Xhaka
Xhakabmg.jpg
Xhaka with Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012
Personal information
Full name Granit Xhaka[1]
Date of birth (1992-09-27) 27 September 1992 (age 21)
Place of birth Basel, Switzerland
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Borussia Mönchengladbach
Number 34
Youth career
2000–2002 Concordia Basel
2002–2010 Basel
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2010–2012 Basel 44 (2)
2012– Borussia Mönchengladbach 50 (1)
National team
2008–2009 Switzerland U17 14 (0)
2009–2010 Switzerland U18 14 (3)
2010–2011 Switzerland U19 10 (3)
2010–2011 Switzerland U21 5 (0)
2011– Switzerland 30 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:03, 4 April 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20 June 2014

Granit Xhaka (Albanian pronunciation: [ɡɾaˈnit ˈdʒaka]; born 27 September 1992) is a Swiss professional footballer of Albanian descent who plays as a midfielder for German club Borussia Mönchengladbach. A full international for Switzerland since 2011, he has gained over 25 caps and was included in their squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Swiss national manager Ottmar Hitzfeld once dubbed him the "young Schweinsteiger",[2] however, because of his intelligence and his love for science, he is now known more commonly amongst his teammates as "young Einstein".[3]

Early life[edit]

Granit was born in Basel, Switzerland[4][5][6][7] to Albanian parents and is the younger brother of Taulant Xhaka, who is also a professional footballer. Their family moved from SFR Yugoslavia to Switzerland shortly before the children were born. He is Muslim.[8]

Club career[edit]

The brothers started their youth football by Concordia Basel and both moved to Basel in 2002. Xhaka played for various Basel youth teams and since 2008 has been a member of the U-21 squad. Between 2008 and 2010 he played 37 games for the U-21 team, scoring eleven goals.[9]

Basel[edit]

Former Basel coach Thorsten Fink once said. "Xherdan Shaqiri is the best talent in Switzerland...after Granit Xhaka."[2] Whilst the Swiss National Football Coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, has dubbed him the 'young Schweinsteiger.'[2]

Since the beginning of the 2010–11 season, Xhaka played for the Basel first team. He made is first team debut in the third qualifying round of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League in the away match against Debreceni VSC in the Szusza Ferenc Stadium. Towards the end of the game he scored the second goal in Basel’s 2–0 victory. He scored his first Super League goal in the 5–1 home win against FC Thun on 15 May 2011.[10] At the end of the 2010–11 season, Xhaka won the Super League Championship title with Basel and at the end of the 2011–12 season he won the Double, the League Championship title[11] and the Swiss Cup[12] with the club.

Borussia Mönchengladbach[edit]

On 18 May 2012, Basel announced on their homepage that Xhaka had agreed terms with Lucien Favre's Borussia Mönchengladbach. After medical checks were completed, the teenager signed a five-year with the club. The transfer fee was not disclosed by Mönchengladbach, but is estimated to be in the region of €8.5 million.[13]

International career[edit]

Switzerland youth squads[edit]

Xhaka has played for Swiss youth squad at the U-17 level. He participated in the Under-17 World Cup in 2009 in Nigeria. The Swiss team won the World Cup.[14]

He played his first game for the Switzerland national under-19 football team on 25 May 2010, as a substitute, as the team beat Austria national under-19 football team 3–2 in the Schwaz, Austria. He scored his first goal for the U-19 on 7 September 2010 as the team won 3–0 against the Czech Republic.

Switzerland under-21[edit]

Xhaka played his first game for the Switzerland national under-21 football team on 3 September 2010, as a substitute, as the team beat Republic of Ireland under-21 national football team 1–0 in the Cornaredo Stadium, Lugano.[15] This was the last game in the qualification Group 2 to the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. Xhaka was member of the Swiss U-21 squad that competed in the final tournament, hosted by Denmark, between 11 and 25 June 2011. The Swiss team reached the final without conceding a goal, but lost to Spain U-21 2–0.

Switzerland senior team[edit]

Xhaka (left) challenging Lionel Messi for the ball during an international friendly between Switzerland and Argentina on 29 February 2012.

Before making his international debut for Switzerland, Xhaka was still undecided whether to play for Albania or the Helvetic team, and he complained to the Albanian sports media that FSHF was ignoring him, whereas the Swiss Football Association had a much bigger interest.[16]

Xhaka debuted for Switzerland at Wembley Stadium against England, in a 2–2 UEFA Euro 2012 qualification draw on 4 June 2011.[17] On 15 November of the same year, during his sixth international appearance, he scored his first international goal in the 1–0 away win against Luxembourg in Stade Josy Barthel.[18]

Switzerland also tried to select him to participate in the 2012 Olympic Football tournament, but he opted to stay at his new club for pre-season training.[19] Xhaka participated in all ten of Switzerland's 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign matches, scoring both goals in a 2–0 defeat of Slovenia.[20]

On 2 June 2014, Xhaka was named in Switzerland's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad by national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.[21] In the team's second match, Xhaka scored in a 5–2 loss to France.[22]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results table. Switzerland's goal tally first:
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 15 November 2011 Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg  Luxembourg 1–0 1–0 Friendly
2 15 August 2012 Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Croatia 1–0 4–2 Friendly
3 7 September 2012 Stadion Stožice, Ljubljana, Slovenia  Slovenia 1–0 2–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
4 15 October 2013 Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland  Slovenia 1–0 1–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
5. 20 June 2014 Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil  France 2–5 2–5 2014 FIFA World Cup

Honours[edit]

Basel
International
Individual Awards
  • Credit Suisse Youth Player of the Year: 2012[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 30. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Better than Shaqiri – the teenage Basel star who Bayern Munich must stop tonight". Goal.com. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Penpix of likely Switzerland squad for World Cup finals". Reuters. 20 April 2014. 
  4. ^ http://www.borussia.de/english/season/first-team/squad.html
  5. ^ "Granit Xhaka: Zuhause bin ich sowohl in der Schweiz wie in Kosova". "Ich bin der Schweiz dankbar für alles. Ich kam in diesem Land auf die Welt"..."Natürlich fühle ich mich zuhause am wohlsten, und das ist in der Schweiz, da ich da geboren und aufgewachsen bin"..."Im Internet in der Wikipedia steht, dass ich in Gjilan geboren sei, doch das ist ein Fehler, von dem ich nicht weiss, wie er entstand." 
  6. ^ "Shaqiri und Xhaka - heiß auf die WM". "Den Ruf des frühreifen Fußballers brachte der gebürtige Basler vor knapp eineinhalb Jahren aus der Alpenrepublik mit ins niederrheinische Flachland." 
  7. ^ "Granit Xhaka: "Es ist ein guter Moment für diesen tollen Schritt"". "Ich bin in Basel geboren und aufgewachsen" 
  8. ^ Stephan Uersfeld (30 June 2014). "World Cup players to forego Ramadan". ESPN. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Granit Xhaka at National-Football-Teams.com
  10. ^ Meister, Remo (15 May 2011). "Der FCB ist zurück an der Spitze" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Meister, Remo (29 April 2012). "Der 15. Meistertitel für den FCB – die Bilanz einer grandiosen Saison" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Matchtelegram FC Basel 1893 5:3 FC Luzern" (in German). football.ch. 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Granit Xhaka wechselt im Sommer vom FCB zu Borussia Mönchengladbach" (in German). FC Basel 1893. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Player statistics FIFA U17 World Cup". FIFA.com. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  15. ^ UEFA.com (2010). "Switzerland see off Ireland for play-off place". UEFA.com. Retrieved 3 September 2010. [dead link]
  16. ^ Begu, Yll (13 April 2011). "Në fokus / Granit Xhaka: Dua të luaj për Shqipërinë, por mungon interesimi i FSHF-së!". ""Mesfushori i Bazelit, Granit Xhaka, së bashku me vëllanë e tij, Taulantin, kanë dëshirë për t’u bërë pjesë e kombëtares shqiptare, mirëpo deri më tash nuk kanë parë kurrfarë interesimi nga Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit që t’i afrojë ata në kombëtaren kuqezi.", further in the article Xhaka says: "“Në javët e fundit është bërë një presion i madh drejt nesh nga mediet lokale për të zgjedhur kombëtaren e Zvicrës dhe e kam të vështirë ta kuptoj përse askush nga FSHF-ja nuk ka reaguar për të shprehur interesim që ne të vishemi kuqezi”, ka theksuar Granit Xhaka." 
  17. ^ Collett, Mike (4 June 2011). "Below-par England salvage draw with Switzerland". Reuters. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  18. ^ "Matchtelegram Luxembourg-Schweiz" (in German). football.ch. 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Olympics-Shaqiri, Xhaka excluded from Swiss soccer squad". reuters.com. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Granit XHAKA". FIFA. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  21. ^ "Switzerland World Cup 2014 squad". The Telegraph. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  22. ^ "Switzerland 2-5 France". BBC. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  23. ^ a b FC Basel 1893 (2008). "Zwei weitere Nachwuchstitel für den FCB". FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 2008-06-15.  (German)
  24. ^ "FCB prägt Nacht des Schweizer Fussballs" (in German). tagesanzeiger.ch. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 38 July 2012. 

External links[edit]