Stephan Lichtsteiner

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Stephan Lichtsteiner
Lichtsteiner061115.jpg
Lichtsteiner lining up for Switzerland in 2006
Personal information
Full name Stephan Lichtsteiner[1]
Date of birth (1984-01-16) 16 January 1984 (age 30)
Place of birth Adligenswil, Switzerland
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Right back/ Right Wingback
Club information
Current team
Juventus
Number 26
Youth career
1991–1996 FC Adligenswil
1996–2000 Luzern
2000–2001 Grasshoppers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2005 Grasshoppers 79 (4)
2005–2008 Lille 89 (5)
2008–2011 Lazio 100 (3)
2011– Juventus 91 (8)
National team
2003–2005 Switzerland U21 30 (1)
2006– Switzerland 68 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 5 May 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:26, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Stephan Lichtsteiner (born 16 January 1984) is a Swiss professional footballer who plays for Italian club Juventus and the Switzerland national team. An attacking right back, he is known for his energetic runs down the right wing and athleticism, which earned him the nicknames "Forrest Gump" and "The Swiss Express".[2]

He began his professional career with Grasshopper Zürich, winning a league title in 2002–03, and moved to Lille in 2005, helping the French club to Champions League qualification in his first season. In 2008 he joined Lazio, and won both the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana the following year. At Juventus, Lichtsteiner has won Serie A in all three of his seasons so far.

A full international since 2006, Lichtsteiner has earned over 65 caps for Switzerland. He has represented the country at UEFA Euro 2008 and two World Cups.

Early years[edit]

Lichtsteiner was born in Adligenswil, Canton of Lucerne. He left home as a teenager to play for Grasshopper Zürich and made his first team debut in 2001–02 in the old Swiss Football League but only made one league appearance. The following season, he began to establish himself as a first team regular and helped the club to the league title. While living in Zürich he completed a banking apprenticeship with Credit Suisse but ultimately chose a career in football.[3]

Club career[edit]

Lille[edit]

During the 2004–05 season Lichtsteiner sealed a transfer to Lille OSC as one of five Swiss players to enter Ligue 1 during the summer of 2005. He became a regular in his first season and helped Lille to a third place finish to secure a Champions League spot. His last season ended disappointingly as Lille finished seventh in the league and missed out on European football next season just by a point. However he did end with 4 goals, his highest tally so far.[4]

Lazio[edit]

After some good performances at the Euro 2008, several clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and Everton expressed interest in signing Lichtsteiner.[5] He rejected PSG's bid and, in July, signed a four-year contract with S.S. Lazio for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of €1.5 million[6] as a replacement for fellow Swiss international Valon Behrami who went to West Ham United.[7] In the April Derby della Capitale, he scored his first goal to put Lazio 3–1 up in a heated derby encounter which ended 4–2 to Lazio and resulted in numerous bookings.[8] He was also booked for a heated confrontation with Roma defender Christian Panucci after the Italian had fouled him.[9] During the season, he formed an attacking tandem down the flanks with Serbian international Aleksandar Kolarov on the other side. Although Lazio finished tenth, they ended the season on a high by winning Coppa Italia and a place next season's Europa League. He played a part in Lazio's successful campaign, scoring in the penalty shoot-out against Sampdoria in the final, and also claiming the Supercoppa Italiana at the beginning of the next season. After Kolarov's departure, his future at Lazio became increasingly in doubt as several clubs expressed interest in him. At the end of the 2010–11 season, he opted not to see out the final year of his contract despite the Biancocelesti qualifying for the Europa League.[10]

Juventus[edit]

Lichtsteiner playing for Juventus in 2013

On 27 June 2011, Juventus confirmed that Lichtsteiner had undergone a medical in Turin and reached an agreement with Lazio to pay €10 million in three installments.[11] The transfer was confirmed on 1 July 2011. He marked his debut on 11 September 2011 against Parma by scoring the first goal in the 4–1 home victory, the first league goal to be scored in Juventus' new stadium. Juventus went on to win the Scudetto and he played a vital part in their strong defensive record, only missing a handful of matches through injury and suspensions.[2] Lichtsteiner repeated his opening matchday feat the following season by converting his left-sided counterpart Kwadwo Asamoah's pass in the 2–0 win.[12] He played fewer matches during 2013-14 season due to injuries but contributed three goals in all competitions and won his third consecutive Serie A title.

International career[edit]

Lichtsteiner defending against Sergio Agüero of Argentina in a 2012 friendly match

A former youth international, Lichtsteiner has played in the 1999 U16 and the 2004 U21 European Championships. He was first called up to the senior squad on two occasions in 2005 but was an unused substitute both times. On 11 November 2006, he made his senior debut in a friendly against Brazil which ended in a 2–1 loss.

Although he missed out on the 2006 World Cup, Lichtsteiner was given a chance to prove himself as first choice right back Philipp Degen was out with long-term injury.[13] In May, Köbi Kuhn named him in the squad for the Euro 2008. He played every match at the tournament and eventually replaced Degen as first choice right back. Switzerland ended the tournament with 2 losses and a win but his performances were good enough to attract interest from top clubs and he signed for Lazio. He retained his starting place under new manager Ottmar Hitzfeld and played every minute in 8 of the 10 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Personal life[edit]

Lichtsteiner is married to Manuela Markworth, an economist and fitness instructor. Their daughter Kim Noemi was born on 30 January 2011 in Switzerland.[14][15] They are expecting their second child in autumn 2014.

Lichtsteiner acquired the nickname "Forrest Gump" when the Lazio-supporting Radio Sei commentator Guido de Angelis referred to him by that name upon witnessing Lichtsteiner's goal in the 4–2 derby victory over AS Roma.[16] He was given this nickname due to his constant runs down the right flank.

Career statistics[edit]

Club League Season League Cup1 Europe Other2 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Grasshoppers Super League 2001–02 1 0 - - - - - - 1 0
2002–03 25 0 - - - - - - 25 0
2003–04 26 2 - - 2 0 - - 28 2
2004–05 27 2 - - - - - - 27 2
Lille Ligue 1 2005–06 31 1 - - 8 0 - - 39 1
2006–07 24 0 4 0 3 0 - - 31 0
2007–08 34 4 1 0 - - - - 35 4
Lazio Serie A 2008–09 33 1 4 0 - - - - 37 1
2009–10 33 2 2 0 7 0 1 0 43 2
2010–11 34 0 1 0 - - - - 35 0
Juventus 2011–12 35 2 3 0 - - - - 39 2
2012–13 28 4 - - 10 1 3 0 38 5
2013–14 28 2 1 0 3 0 1 1 30 3
Swiss League Total 79 4 0 0 2 0 0 0 81 4
Ligue 1 Total 89 5 5 0 11 0 0 0 105 5
Serie A Total 173 10 11 1 17 0 2 0 192 10
Total 341 19 16 1 30 0 2 0 378 19

1 Includes Coupe de France/Coupe de la Ligue and Coppa Italia
2 Includes Supercoppa Italiana

Updated 3 March 2013[17]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Switzerland's goal tally first
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 11 October 2011 St. Jakob Park, Basel  Montenegro 2–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying
2. 26 May 2012 St. Jakob Park, Basel  Germany 4–2 5–3 Friendly
3. 6 September 2013 Stade de Suisse, Bern  Iceland 1–1 4–4 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. 3–1
5. 3 June 2014 Swissporarena, Lucerne  Peru 1–0 2–0 Friendly

Honours[edit]

Grasshopper Zürich
Lazio
Juventus

References[edit]

External links[edit]