Embolo with Switzerland in 2016
|Full name||Breel Donald Embolo|
|Date of birth||14 February 1997|
|Place of birth||Yaoundé, Cameroon|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15 October 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 September 2016
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. Embolo made his senior international debut in March 2015 and represented Switzerland at UEFA Euro 2016.
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. He received various individual prizes, such as the Basel youngster of the year 2013. Just three weeks after his 16th birthday he signed his first professional contract with the club. In summer 2013 he rose to play in their U-18 and U-21 teams.
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. The match against Red Bull Salzburg ended in a goalless draw. 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. 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. 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.
In late 2015, he was scouted by several German and English clubs due to his performances, among them Aston Villa and Borussia Dortmund. 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. 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".
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. 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. 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.
He scored his first league goals for the Gelsenkirchen-based club on 2 October, a brace in a 4–0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach. Eleven days later in his next match against Augsburg, he suffered up 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Style of play
UEFA.com 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.
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 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.
- As of match played 15 October 2016
|Basel||2013–14||Swiss Super League||7||1||0||0||4||0||—||11||1|
- Statistics accurate as of match played on 6 September 2016.
- As of match played 6 September 2016. Switzerland score listed first, score column indicates score after each Embolo goal.
|1||9 October 2015||AFG Arena, St. Gallen, Switzerland||6||San Marino||6–0||7–0||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|2||6 September 2016||St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland||15||Portugal||1–0||2–0||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- FC Basel Young Player of the Year: 2013
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- Breel Embolo at Soccerway