Breel Embolo

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Breel Embolo
Breel Embolo 2017 (2).jpg
Embolo in 2017
Personal information
Full name Breel Donald Embolo
Date of birth (1997-02-14) 14 February 1997 (age 22)
Place of birth Yaoundé, Cameroon
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Schalke 04
Number 36
Youth career
2006–2008 Nordstern
2008–2010 Old Boys
2010–2014 Basel
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2014–2016 Basel 61 (21)
2016– Schalke 04 37 (7)
National team
2012–2013 Switzerland U16 4 (1)
2014–2015 Switzerland U20 3 (0)
2014–2015 Switzerland U21 4 (0)
2015– Switzerland 30 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 November 2018
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 8 September 2018

Breel Donald Embolo (born 14 February 1997) is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a forward for German club Schalke 04 and the Swiss national team.

He made his professional debut for Basel in March 2014, and won the Swiss Super League in all three of his first seasons before moving to Schalke for an initial €20 million. Shortly after moving to the Bundesliga, he suffered an ankle injury that ruled him out for nearly a year.

Embolo made his senior international debut in March 2015 and represented Switzerland at UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Embolo started his youth football with Nordstern. Via Old Boys he transferred to the youth system of Basel in 2010. In the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons he played in Basel's U-16. With the U-16 team he won the Swiss Championship title twice at this level.[2][3] He received various individual prizes, such as the Basel youngster of the year 2013.[4] Just three weeks after his 16th birthday he signed his first professional contract with the club.[5] In summer 2013 he rose to play in their U-18 and U-21 teams.

FC Basel[edit]

Embolo made his professional debut on 13 March 2014 as a 90th-minute substitute for Geoffroy Serey in the Europa League round of 16 first leg at St. Jakob-Park.[6] The match against Red Bull Salzburg ended in a goalless draw.[7] Three days later, he made his Swiss Super League debut in the 5–0 home win against Aarau, coming on as a substitute in the 85th minute. He scored his first goal for the team just four minutes later, the final goal of the game.[8] At the end of the 2013–14 Super League season he won the league championship with Basel; they also reached the final of the 2013–14 Swiss Cup, but Embolo sat on the bench as they were beaten 2–0 by Zürich after extra time.

On 4 November 2014 he scored his first goal in the UEFA Champions League, opening a 4–0 home group win against Ludogorets Razgrad.[9] The championship was won again that season, and the team reached the cup final, under new manager Paulo Sousa. After winning the title, Embolo called Raphael Wicky, the club's under-18 manager, and requested that he play their remaining games now the senior season was over.[8]

In late 2015, he was scouted by several German and English clubs due to his performances, among them Aston Villa and Borussia Dortmund.[10] Late into the 2016 January transfer window, VfL Wolfsburg made a bid for Embolo, but it was rejected by Basel. The bid was reported to be close to €27 million.[11] Under Urs Fischer, Embolo won a third consecutive title in 2015–16. In June 2016, Embolo was described by FourFourTwo as "one of Europe's hottest prospects".[8]

Schalke 04[edit]

On 26 June 2016, Bundesliga side Schalke 04 confirmed the signing of Embolo from Basel on a five-year deal, for a reported fee of €20 million plus add-ons.[12] He made his debut on 20 August in the first round of the DFB-Pokal away to sixth-tier FC 08 Villingen, starting and scoring in a 4–1 victory.[13] A week later he made his league debut in a 1–0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt, replacing Franco Di Santo at half time in the season opener.[14]

He scored his first league goals for the Gelsenkirchen-based club on 2 October, a brace in a 4–0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.[15] Eleven days later in his next match against Augsburg, he suffered a serious injury following a foul from Kostas Stafylidis, a complicated ankle fracture, ruptured syndesmosis and medial collateral ligament damage which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.[16]

On 16 September 2017, Embolo made his return after missing nearly a full year of football, coming on as an 80th-minute substitute for Amine Harit in a 2–1 win at Werder Bremen.[17]

International career[edit]

Embolo made four appearances for the Switzerland U16 national team. He scored his first international goal on 1 November 2012 in the 3–0 away win against the Ukraine U16. He was also eligible to play for Cameroon, however in December 2014 he pledged his international allegiance to Switzerland.[18]

He made his senior international debut on 31 March 2015, replacing Josip Drmić after 56 minutes of an eventual 1–1 friendly draw against the United States in Zürich.[19] On 9 October, he scored his first international goal, a penalty in a 7–0 win over San Marino at the AFG Arena in St Gallen, converting after Alessandro Della Valle fouled Eren Derdiyok; the result qualified the Swiss to UEFA Euro 2016. In the same game, he also set up Michael Lang for the first goal and won a spot-kick scored by Johan Djourou.[20]

Embolo was selected by manager Vladimir Petković for the final tournament in France. A substitute in the first two group games, he then started against the hosts in a goalless draw in Lille and came off the bench in the last 16, a 1–1 draw and penalty shootout loss to Poland.[21]

In qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Embolo scored once to open a 2–0 win over European champions Portugal at his former club ground in Basel.[22] Petković named him for the squad to compete in the finals in Russia.[23]

Style of play[edit] writer Steffen Potter praised Embolo as a complete striker: "He is powerful, technically strong and decisive. He has explosive pace and is a composed finisher." Fabian Frei, who was a midfielder for FC Basel at the same time with Embolo, complimented him as well, for keeping his feet on the ground.[24]

I think he is a sensation – playing like that aged 17. I like him as a person as much as I do as a player. His feet will stay on the ground – he won't be shooting from 50 metres to score the goal of the season. You can give him good advice and he is ready to take it without getting angry.

Embolo has cited Mario Balotelli as one of his inspirations. Both players like to lurk between defenders and both have great control allied to physical prowess.[24]

Embolo can also play in midfield; according to David Lemos of Radio Télévision Suisse he resembles N'Golo Kanté in this role, using his power to retrieve the ball and give it to the attackers.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Embolo was born in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. His mother settled with her two sons in Basel, believing there was no future for them in Cameroon. Embolo received Swiss citizenship on 12 December 2014.[25][26] His girlfriend Naomi gave birth to their daughter Naliya in June 2018.[27]

Career statistics[edit]


As of match played 11 November 2018 [28]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Basel 2013–14 Swiss Super League 7 1 0 0 4 0 11 1
2014–15 27 10 5 6 8 1 40 17
2015–16 27 10 1 0 12 3 40 13
Total 61 21 6 6 24 4 0 0 91 31
Schalke 04 2016–17 Bundesliga 7 2 1 1 2 0 10 3
2017–18 21 3 2 0 23 3
2018–19 9 2 2 0 4 1 14 3
Total 37 7 5 1 6 1 0 0 48 9
Career total 98 28 11 7 30 5 0 0 139 40


As of match played on 8 September 2018[29]
Year Apps Goals
2015 7 1
2016 10 1
2017 4 0
2018 9 1
Total 30 3

International goals[edit]

Switzerland score listed first, score column indicates score after each Embolo goal.[29]
International goals by date, venue, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 9 October 2015 AFG Arena, St. Gallen, Switzerland 6  San Marino 6–0 7–0 UEFA Euro 2016 qualification
2 6 September 2016 St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland 15  Portugal 1–0 2–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 27 March 2018 Swissporarena, Lucerne, Switzerland 23  Panama 3–0 6–0 Friendly





  • FC Basel Young Player of the Year: 2013[4]


  1. ^ "2018 FIFA World Cup: List of players" (PDF). FIFA. 21 June 2018. p. 30.
  2. ^ a b Kiesewetter, Dominik (2012). "U16 kurz vor der Ziellinie!" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b FC Basel 1893 (2013). "Die U16 holt das Double!" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b FC Basel 1893 (2013). "Auszeichnung der "Rookies of the Year"" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  5. ^ FC Basel 1893 (2013). "Profivertrag für U16-Stürmer Breel-Donald Embolo" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  6. ^ Marti, Caspar (2014). "Keine Tore zwischen Basel und Salzburg" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  7. ^ Hindley, Martyn (2014). "Basel put breaks on Salzburg". Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d Yokhin, Michael (22 June 2016). "How Breel Embolo became one of Europe's hottest prospects – but won't join Man United". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  9. ^ Holyman, Ian (4 November 2014). "Embolo leads Basel to Ludogorets stroll". UEFA. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  10. ^ Jones, Simon (11 October 2015). "Aston Villa scouts watch Switzerland's teenage sensation Breel Embolo score against San Marino". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  11. ^ Wright, Joe (2016). "Basel reject Wolfsburg bid for Embolo". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Done deal: Breel Embolo signs for German side Shalke". Metro. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Aogos schöner Türöffner, Embolos Abstauber" [Aogo's beautiful opener, Embolo's tap-in]. kicker (in German). 20 August 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Eintracht Frankfurt 1–0 FC Schalke 04". BBC Sport. 27 August 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Breel-iant Embolo leads Schalke plaudits after Gladbach rout". Bundesliga. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  16. ^ Uersfeld, Stephan (17 October 2016). "Schalke's Breel Embolo set to miss rest of season after ankle surgery". ESPN. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Bundesliga: Breel Embolo rejoue en championnat après une année d'absence" [Bundesliga: Breel Embolo plays in the championship again after a year of absence] (in French). RTS. 16 September 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Breel Embolo chooses to play for Switzerland over Cameroon". BBC Sport. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  19. ^ McCarthy, Kyle (31 March 2015). "Switzerland 1-1 USA: Altidore sent off in friendly draw". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Switzerland hit seven to qualify for EURO 2016". UEFA. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  21. ^ Johnston, Neil (25 June 2016). "Switzerland 1-1 Poland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Switzerland 2–0 Portugal". BBC Sport. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  23. ^ Kern, Max (7 June 2018). "Switzerland World Cup 2018 team guide: tactics, key players and expert predictions". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  24. ^ a b "'s weekly wonderkid: Breel Embolo". UEFA. 7 February 2015.
  25. ^ Kreis, Stefan; Sandro Inguscio (2014). "FCB-Star Embolo erhält den Schweizer Pass!" (in German). Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  26. ^ "FCB-Stürmer Breel Embolo erhält den Schweizer Pass" (in German). Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  27. ^ "Breel Embolo ist Vater geworden!". Schweizer Illustrierte (in German). Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  28. ^ "Breel Embolo Socceway Profile". Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Breel Embolo". European Football. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  30. ^ Breel Embolo at Soccerway

External links[edit]