Granit Xhaka

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Granit Xhaka
Granit Xhaka - Switzerland vs. Argentina, 29th February 2012 (cropped).jpg
Xhaka playing for Switzerland in 2012
Personal information
Full name Granit Xhaka[1]
Date of birth (1992-09-27) 27 September 1992 (age 23)
Place of birth Basel, Switzerland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Arsenal
Number 29
Youth career
2000–2002 Concordia Basel
2002–2010 Basel
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2010–2012 Basel 44 (1)
2012–2016 Borussia Mönchengladbach 108 (6)
2016– Arsenal 0 (0)
National team
2008–2009 Switzerland U17 14 (1)
2009–2010 Switzerland U18 14
2010–2011 Switzerland U19 10 (3)
2010–2011 Switzerland U21 5 (0)
2011– Switzerland 44 (6)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12:46, 25 May 2016 (UTC).
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:12, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Granit Xhaka (Albanian pronunciation: [ɡɾaˈnit ˈdʒaka]; born 27 September 1992) is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Arsenal and the Switzerland national team. Swiss national manager Ottmar Hitzfeld once dubbed him the "young Schweinsteiger",[3][4] while former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has praised his tackling, versatility, and physicality.

Xhaka began his career at hometown club Basel, winning the Swiss Super League in both of his seasons. He then moved to Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012, playing 140 official games and scoring nine goals.

He has been a full international for Switzerland since 2011, gaining more than 40 caps. He was included in their squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.

Early life[edit]

Xhaka was born in Basel, Switzerland[5][6][7][8] to Kosovo Albanian parents and is the younger brother of Taulant Xhaka, who is also a professional footballer and plays for the Albania national football team and played against Granit in the second Euro 2016 match. Their family moved from Kosovo to Switzerland shortly before their children were born.[9]

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.[10]

Basel[edit]

Former Basel coach Thorsten Fink once said. "Xherdan Shaqiri is the best talent in Switzerland...after Granit Xhaka."[3] Whilst the Swiss National Football Coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, has dubbed him the 'young Schweinsteiger.'[3]

Since the beginning of the 2010–11 season, Xhaka played for the Basel first team. He made his 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.[11] 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[12] and the Swiss Cup[13] with the club.

Borussia Mönchengladbach[edit]

Xhaka playing for Monchengladbach in May 2015

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 deal with the club. The transfer fee was not disclosed by Mönchengladbach, but is estimated to be in the region of €8.5 million.[14]

Xhaka made his debut in a DFB-Pokal first round match against Alemannia Aachen on 18 August 2012. Three days later, he made his first appearance in European competition for Borussia in 1–3 home lost to FC Dynamo Kyiv in qualification for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League. On 25 August, he made his Bundesliga debut in the team's opening match of the season, a 2–1 home win against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. He scored his first and only goal of the season in a 3–2 loss at 1. FC Nürnberg.[15]

In his second season at the club, Xhaka started 29 times and made five substitute appearances as Gladbach finished in sixth place in the Bundesliga.[15]

In 2014–15, Xhaka started all 34 Bundesliga matches for Borussia[15] and was named in the league's team of the season.[16] Borussia finished in third place to qualify for the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League.

On 23 September 2015, Xhaka captained Borussia and scored his first goal of the season, heading in from Raffael's free kick in a 4–2 win over FC Augsburg. In the next match, against VfB Stuttgart, Xhaka again captained the side and scored a goal in a 3–1 win. On 30 September, he made his first appearance for Borussia in the Champions League proper in a 1–2 group stage loss at home to Manchester City.[15] Xhaka received his fifth red card for the team in his 95th game on 20 December, for striking his opponent in the first half; he voluntarily gave €20,000 to charity as an apology.[17]

Arsenal[edit]

On 25 May 2016, Arsenal signed Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach for a fee of around £30–35 million.[18][19][20]

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.[21]

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.[22] 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 his birth country or Albania, and he complained to the Albanian sports media that FSHF was ignoring him while the Swiss Football Association was showing much more interest.[23]

Xhaka debuted for Switzerland at Wembley Stadium against England, in a 2–2 UEFA Euro 2012 qualification draw on 4 June 2011.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

On 2 June 2014, Xhaka was named in Switzerland's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad by national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.[28] In the team's second match, Xhaka scored in a 5–2 loss to France.[29]

Xhaka was selected for UEFA Euro 2016, where Switzerland's campaign opened against Albania in Lens. Xhaka, whose team won 1–0, was playing against his own brother while their mother watched from the crowd in a t-shirt blending the two nations' flags.[30] He was voted the man of the match.[31] Xhaka played every minute of Switzerland's campaign, which ended in the last 16 with a loss to Poland at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard; after a 1–1 draw he was the only player to not score in the penalty shootout, shooting wide.[32]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 25 May 2016[33]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Basel 2010–11 Super League 19 1 2 0 5 1 26 2
2011–12 23 0 4 0 8 0 35 0
Total 42 1 6 0 13 1 61 2
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2012–13 Bundesliga 22 1 2 0 9 0 33 1
2013–14 28 0 1 0 29 0
2014–15 30 2 3 0 9 3 42 5
2015–16 28 3 3 0 5 0 36 3
Total 108 6 9 0 23 3 140 9
Arsenal 2016–17 Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career totals 150 7 15 0 0 0 36 4 201 11

International[edit]

As of match played on 11 June 2016.[34]
Switzerland
Year Apps Goals
2011 6 1
2012 9 2
2013 8 1
2014 10 1
2015 6 1
2016 5 0
Total 44 6

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Basel
  • Swiss Super League U-16: 2007–08[35]
  • Swiss Cup U-16: 2007–08[35]

Individual[edit]

  • Credit Suisse Youth Player of the Year: 2012[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 30. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  2. ^ http://www.borussia.de/de/team-saison/die-fohlenelf/spielerkader.html
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "Penpix of likely Switzerland squad for World Cup finals". Reuters. 20 April 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.borussia.de/english/season/first-team/squad.html
  6. ^ "Granit Dhaka: 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. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ "Granit Xhaka: "Es ist ein guter Moment für diesen tollen Schritt"". Ich bin in Basel geboren und aufgewachsen 
  9. ^ Stephan Uersfeld (30 June 2014). "World Cup players to forego Ramadan". ESPN. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Granit Xhaka at National-Football-Teams.com
  11. ^ Meister, Remo (15 May 2011). "Der FCB ist zurück an der Spitze" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Matchtelegram FC Basel 1893 5:3 FC Luzern" (in German). football.ch. 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Granit Xhaka wechselt im Sommer vom FCB zu Borussia Mönchengladbach" (in German). FC Basel 1893. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Granit Xhaka". kicker. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "Infografik: Die Top-11 der Saison 2014/15". Bundesliga. 25 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Granit Xhaka pays his dues after Gladbach star racks up red cards". ESPN FC. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  18. ^ "Granit Xhaka signs for Arsenal in £35m deal as Arsene Wenger admits club have been tracking Swiss midfielder 'for a long time'". Daily Mail. 25 May 2016. 
  19. ^ Benge, James (25 May 2016). "Granit Xhaka signs for Arsenal: Gunners complete deal for Swiss international midfielder". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  20. ^ "Arsenal will pay around £30m for Granit Xhaka, Sky Sports News HQ understands". Sky Sports. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  21. ^ "Player statistics FIFA U17 World Cup". FIFA.com. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  22. ^ UEFA.com (2010). "Switzerland see off Ireland for play-off place". UEFA.com. Retrieved 3 September 2010. [dead link]
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Collett, Mike (4 June 2011). "Below-par England salvage draw with Switzerland". Reuters. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  25. ^ "Matchtelegram Luxembourg-Schweiz" (in German). football.ch. 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Olympics-Shaqiri, Xhaka excluded from Swiss soccer squad". reuters.com. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  27. ^ "Granit XHAKA". FIFA. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "Switzerland World Cup 2014 squad". The Telegraph. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  29. ^ "Switzerland 2-5 France". BBC. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  30. ^ Gill, Kieran (11 June 2016). "Granit and Taulant Xhaka go head to head at Euro 2016... as their mother wears a half-and-half Switzerland-Albania shirt and older brother throws a tantrum on the touchline". Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  31. ^ Atkin, John (11 June 2016). "Switzerland hold on against ten-man Albania". UEFA. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  32. ^ Brassell, Andy (25 June 2016). "Poland hold nerve after Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka blazes penalty wide". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  33. ^ http://www.soccerway.com/players/granit-xhaka/102647/
  34. ^ "Granit Xhaka". European Football. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  35. ^ a b FC Basel 1893 (2008). "Zwei weitere Nachwuchstitel für den FCB" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  36. ^ "FCB prägt Nacht des Schweizer Fussballs" (in German). tagesanzeiger.ch. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 

External links[edit]